Leading Article: Time to admit defeat in the banana war
Thursday 08 April 1999
The behaviour of the United States has certainly been bullying. Its imposition of tariffs on Terry's Chocolate Oranges and Scottish cashmere sweaters, among other EU goods, has been illegal and unnecessarily aggressive. There is reason to think that the whole trade war has been bought off the shelf by the US banana lobby through donations to the Democrats. But the US is right on this occasion. The Europeans now need to negotiate, not appeal. It would be to no one's benefit if the US decided to impose the tariffs up to the WTO limit.
There is no reason why the WTO's decision should prevent the EU helping the Caribbean islanders. It could increase the amount of economic development aid it gives to the islands.
Furthermore, with the future of the European Commission under debate, it would be best if this matter could be sorted out before Romano Prodi becomes its president. And with more people fleeing from Kosovo and the number of deaths increasing daily, the Western allies do not need to be wrangling over who is top banana.
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