WTO rules against EU in bananas case
Union’s import tariffs for bananas discriminate unfairly against Latin American countries, says WTO.8 April 2008
GENEVA - The World Trade Organisation has ruled that the European Union's import tariffs for bananas unfairly discriminate against many Latin American countries.
The ruling by the global trade body's dispute settlement panel was released on Monday.
The WTO panel called on Brussels to bring its duties in line with global trade agreements, backing a complaint from Ecuador. The South American country claims to suffer as a result of the EU's preferential conditions for producers from African and Caribbean countries.
Monday's ruling is the latest in a series of WTO decisions against the EU's banana regime stretching back over 10 years.
It confirms a 1998 decision that found against the EU and notes that Brussels has still not implemented the recommendations made at the time.
In February, a separate panel ruling in a case brought by the United States said the EU must open its doors to other banana growers or face millions of euros in punitive sanctions.
Washington brought its case with the backing of major fruit companies such as Chiquita Brands International Inc., which have been demanding the EU overhaul the system that gives preferential conditions to former British and French colonies and several other countries.
Although Brussels has made various changes to its rules over the years, the WTO has consistently found the 27-nation trade bloc to be in breach of its obligations under the organisation.
[AP / Expatica]