Germans push for banana repeal

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The Independent Online
THE EC compromise agreement on banana imports into the single European market, which protects traditional Caribbean exporters to the EC, is coming under increasingly heavy attack, writes Lisa Vaughan.

The German government yesterday said it was considering appealing to the European Court of Justice over the EC's decision to impose banana import quotas. Early this week Latin American countries said they were prepared to fight it through the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

EC agriculture ministers over the weekend approved a complex system of tariffs and quotas on banana imports, mainly from Latin America, despite opposition from Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Under special arrangements, Germany imports bananas duty-free.

The House of Commons Agriculture Committee is to endorse the EC plan today, saying it will abide by Europe's commitments to traditional banana-producing dependencies under the Lome convention. The UK imports most of its bananas from the Windward Islands and Jamaica.

Sir Jerry Wiggin, chairman of the Agriculture Committee, said: 'The key is the Lome convention, which every country in the EC signed and agreed to. I'm not pretending this is anything other than a protected market.'

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