Caribbean in trouble

Published: Friday 30 September 2005

Caribbean states have been hit hard by a recent World Trade Organisation ruling that pronounced as illegal the new us $280 per tonne eu tariff on bananas imported from the Most Favoured Nations (mfn). The 25-nation African, Caribbean and Pacific group are pitted against mfn, comprising Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela. The new tariff was to be imposed by January 1, 2006, in place of the current quota system. mfn said it would destroy their economies.

Grenada premier Keith Mitchell says the ruling will harm the banana industries of Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. " view of the arguments of mfn... it is difficult to believe they will agree to a tariff-only regime with a tariff level that lets the Caribbean banana industries survive," rues the chief executive officer of Windward Islands Banana Exporting Company.

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