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Archive for Friday, March 9, 2007

EU blocks WTO banana tariffs investigation

March 9, 2007

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— The European Union blocked a World Trade Organization investigation of its banana tariffs Thursday, temporarily delaying the inevitable reopening of a decade-old dispute with Latin American countries and the United States over claims of unfair trade discrimination.

A panel will almost certainly be established to examine Brussels' compliance with international trade rules at a future meeting of the WTO's dispute settlement body, officials said.

The WTO consistently has ruled against how the EU sets tariffs for bananas, forcing the 27-nation bloc to overhaul a system that grants preferential conditions for producers from African and Caribbean countries, mainly former British and French colonies.

Brussels, however, says a new banana tariff established last year - $231 per ton - has brought its rules for banana imports in line with WTO rulings.

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