Letter: Banana battle

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The Independent Culture

Banana battle

Sir: You are wrong to suggest that the European Union should admit defeat in the banana war (leading article, 8 April).

This is certainly not the first time in recent history that "free trade" rules have been used to undermine broadly beneficial activities in favour of the financial interests of large companies.

In 1998 the Canadian government was obliged, under North American free trade rules, to reverse a ban on a toxic petrol additive and two Mexican local authorities were sued for preventing US companies from establishing toxic-waste dumps in their jurisdictions.

Nor, if we give up on the small Caribbean banana farmers, will it be the last time that trade rules are used in this way. One GM company admits to a target which will make the whole of the US soya crop genetically engineered for 2000.

We have a right to halt imports which threaten our health, environment and economy. If the World Trade rules do not allow this then they must be changed. The only argument against this is that biotech companies might suffer.

Which is more important - their profits or our future?


Green Party Agriculture Working Group

Tiverton, Devon