Wednesday, January 04, 2006


EU Banana Regime Demise

On August 1, last year, a World Trade Organization (WTO) arbitrator ruled against the European Union's (EU) proposed most-favored nation (MFN) tariff rates for banana imports. The request had been made by Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama under the Doha Ministerial Decision after the EU had proposed a new banana tariff of € 230 per ton. Following the ruling, the EU revised its tariff proposal to € 187 per ton. Further consultations followed, but the parties were still unable to reach a mutually-satisfactory agreement. Hence on September 26, the EU requested a second arbitration. Toward the end of October, the second arbitration report determined that the EU's new proposed MFN tariff of € 187 per ton failed to rectify the matter. So here we stand! In his statement before the recent WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong, Charles Savarin - Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Labor of Dominica referred to the new banana regime scheduled to come into effect on January 1, 2006: “The fundamental responsibility of this Organization is to balance those rights so that its prescriptions are fair, reasonable and equitable. Damaging the right of Caribbean and ACP countries to trade in bananas or any other commodity cannot be fair, reasonable or equitable.”


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