Spain, France and Portugal uneasy over any EU banana deal
Three European banana producers -- France, Spain and Portugal -- said Friday they would not accept any EU-negotiated agreement that threatened their productionMadrid - Three European banana producers -- France, Spain and Portugal -- said Friday they would not accept any EU-negotiated agreement that threatened their production.
France produces bananas in its Caribbean territories, Spain in its Canary Islands in the Atlantic and Portugal in the island of Madeira.
Spanish Agriculture Minister Elena Espinosa, her French counterpart Michel Barnier and Portuguese secretary of state for agriculture Luis Meideiro Vieria met in Madrid Friday with representatives of the Association of European Banana Producers.
The ministers decided "to continue to work together... so that our sector has the support it needs," Espinosa told a news conference.
She said the three countries would be keeping a close eye on both the negotiations as part of the World Trade Organisation as well as any eventual bilateral accord between the EU and Latin American countries.
Hoping to give a boost to broader WTO talks, the European Commission wants to make a steep cut in its banana import tariffs in order to end a long-running trade dispute with Latin American producers.
"We cannot accept any kind of cuts in the tariffs that protect our products and those of poor countries, because behind these tariffs there are jobs," said Barnier.
He said that producer countries would write to the European Commission.
"We want a multilateral agreement, which is legally secure, and not any type of agreement," he said.
AFP / Expatica