EU hits gridlock on banana tariff
BRUSSELS, Nov 20 (Reuters): The European Union (EU) has run into trouble again with its latest import plans for bananas, throwing its 25 national governments into deadlock and maybe angering Latin America enough to trigger another international trade row.
After losing the bitter 1990s "banana wars" at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the EU pledged to scrap its complex system of quotas and import duties for a tariff-only system to run from January. The row has been over the level of tariff.
The European Commission, which negotiates foreign trade for the EU-25, presented its latest tariff -- 179 euros ($209.2) a tonne -- to ambassadors of EU states this week. It did not go down well at all, with 10 states rejecting the proposed duty.
EU countries are split down the middle over the current import regime since they have widely differing interests over bananas, the world's second-largest fruit market after citrus.