Published: Thursday 31 May 2001

The world's largest banana exporter, Ecuador, has criticised a decision of the European Union (eu) to abandon a 'first come first served policy' for fruit trade. As per the policy, contracts were awarded to those shipments that reached the eu ports first. The policy has been abandoned following the resolution of an eight-year long dispute between the us and eu over banana import rules. The us said it would lift sanctions worth us $191 million on European exports if the eu allots banana import licenses. This will hurt the interests of Ecuadorian companies who will not be able to compete with multinational banana corporations for import licenses. "I reject what they have agreed to," said Gustavo Noboa, the Ecuadorian president. Ecuador currently ships about 17 per cent of its banana produce to the eu.

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