|WTO to examine US complaint that EU ignored banana rulings|
|Published on Friday, July 13, 2007||Email To Friend Print Version|
|By Warren Giles
GENEVA, Switzerland (Bloomberg): The World Trade Organization will decide whether the European Union ignored rulings saying the bloc should end limits on banana imports from Latin America, in a move that may prompt renewed US sanctions against the EU.
The EU, the world’s biggest banana importer, says it implemented WTO rulings in 2001 by agreeing to drop limits on the quantities of the fruit it imports. The WTO had told the bloc to scrap its quotas on bananas from Latin America, which protect former European colonies in Africa and the Caribbean, by the end of 1999.
The WTO first ruled against the EU in September 1997, backing claims brought by Ecuador, the US, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico almost two years earlier. The EU promised to shift to a tariff-only regime for bananas no later than Jan. 1, 2006, in return for which the US ended $191 million of sanctions on European goods in 2001.
The 27-nation bloc says it’s entitled to discriminate in favour of bananas from former colonies in Africa and the Caribbean with a zero duty while charging 176 euros ($242) a metric ton to shipments from Latin America.
Cincinnati-based Chiquita Brands International Inc. and Westlake Village, California-based Dole Food Co. grow and export bananas from Latin America.
Ecuador, which earlier this year asked for a WTO panel in its dispute with the EU, says the trade arbiter’s decisions have never been implemented and cites interim agreements with the EU that, the Latin American country says, also haven’t been honored. About 10 percent of Ecuador’s population depends on the fruit for their livelihood.
(The ruthlessness of mankind is pathetic, isn’t this the same Chuquita which hired terrorist in Columbia, the same terrorists the US gov’t is spending millions of US tax payer dollars to get rid of ?. Isn’t this the same USA that refuses to implement the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) rulings.)