28th Sep 2023

Ecuador to fight EU banana regime at the WTO

Ecuador, the world's biggest banana producer, has filed a request to the World Trade Organization to arbitrate a looming banana war with the European Union.

"Today I signed a letter to the chairman of the WTO General Council requesting arbitration," said Ecuador's ambassador to the WTO Herman Escudero, according to media reports.

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  • The EU intends to triple banana tariffs from 2006 (Photo: Banana Link)

The move comes after the European Commission in January formally notified the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that it intends to triple banana tariffs from 2006.

Under the new regime, Latin American countries would no longer be limited by quotas but would pay higher duties, 230 euro a tonne, from January 2006 - currently it is 75 euro a tonne.

African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries could however continue to export bananas to the EU market under more favourable terms.

Presidents and high officials from seven Latin American countries, Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and Nicaragua, already met in January in the Ecuadorian capital, Quito, and signed a declaration rejecting the EU proposal.

The new EU regime is designed to help producers in former European colonies in the ACP countries to compete with larger growers in Latin America, many of which are controlled by US-based multinational companies.

The WTO arbitrator must be appointed within 30 days and will then have 90 days to make a decision, according to the Doha accord.

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