|dc.description||The European Union (EU) is currently the main market outlet for imported bananas, with an estimated annual turnover of ECU 2 billion ($1.8 billion) in 1996 (excluding trade between EU members). By 1999, European demand for bananas (excluding EU production) is projected to reach about 3.3 million tonnes annually.
Who are the leading suppliers of bananas to the European Union? In addition to EU producers, suppliers include ACP signatories to the Lomé Convention and some Central and Latin American banana-producing countries.
The Common Market Organisation for Bananas, set up in 1993 and extended by the Framework Agreement endorsed in Marrakech (1994), led to allocation of import quotas based on three different banana origins, with a provision for compensation to make up for any loss of income subsequent to market consolidation. A tariff quota of 2.2 million tonnes was established for dollar bananas from third country origins, at a tariff of ECU 75 a tonne.
In September 1996, USA, supported by Guatemala, Ecuador, Honduras and Mexico, contested the terms of the Marrakech trading agreement and lodged a complaint for violation of trade laws. What is actually at issue? Is the percentages of the third-country tariff quota allocated to four Latin American signatories to the Framework Agreement.
It is the quotas designated for non-traditional ACP bananas (80,000 t) that are being contested. The percentages of the tariff quota allocated to Venezuela and Nicaragua are being disputed, i.e. WTO contends that these two countries do not have a sufficient vested interest in the banana industry. Rejection of the terms of the Marrakech agreements, along with the modified status and increased demands of American multinational corporations (Chiquita, Dole, Del Monte), could create a new order with respect to the import subsector. Many small-scale banana importers or ripeners will be affected by the economic and political implications of the future Common Market Organisation for Bananas.
Community bananas. These are produced by EU countries: Martinique and Guadeloupe (France); Madeira (Portugal); Canary Islands (Spain); Crete and Lakonia (Greece).
854,000 tonnes is the maximum quantity of Community bananas that can be marketed to qualify for loss-of-income compensation.
ACP bananas. These are produced by African, Pacific and Caribbean countries signatory to the Lomé IV Convention along with the EU. This category includes:
traditional ACP bananas. These are exported to the EU by traditional ACP supply countries (Belize, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Madagascar, St Lucia, St Vincent/Grenadines, Somalia and Suriname). The quota designated for all of these countries collectively is based on a maximum export volume of 857,700 t of bananas.
non-traditional ACP bananas.These are exported to the EU by ACP suppliers that have surpassed their quota, or by non-traditional ACP suppliers of European markets. WTO is contesting the 80,000 tonne quota allocated in the Marrakech Framework Agreement.
Third-country bananas, or dollar bananas.These are produced in Central or South American countries where USA has a strong vested interest (Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, etc.).||