Greeting cards are just a pawn in the banana game
Wednesday 13 January 1999
The Greeting Cards Association warned that thousands of jobs were threatened because the US wants to slap a 100 per cent import duty on the cards as a weapon in the dispute over banana import duties.
Ray Cousins, chairman of the association, said: "We are merely a pawn in a much bigger game. Greetings cards has been picked at random - it could have been anyone. People are very concerned because it is now clear this could become bogged down in bureaucracy and go on for months."
The US is also targeting the duty on other European Union imports worth half a billion euros (pounds 700m). Industries affected include cashmere sweaters, batteries, plastics, biscuits, bath oils, candles, lithographs, bed linen, cartons, wallets, handbags and cheese. Under US proposals, sanctions would start on 3 March.
UK industries would be hardest hit. In the cashmere industry, 700 jobs may be at risk in the Scottish borders. The DTI estimates 2,700 British jobs could be at risk.
The banana war blew up because the US was dissatisfied with a new EU regime for banana imports, introduced on 1 January. The regime was created to answer World Trade Organisation concerns that it protected imports from ex-colonies at the expense of US banana exporters such as Chiquita. The US claims that the regime is still too restrictive.
Yesterday, the WTO's Disputes Settlements Body in Geneva decided to reconvene its "bananas panel" to rule on the EU's banana regime, a move the US had tried to block.
"We believe the sanctions are illegal because there has been no ruling about them in international law," said a spokesman for Sir Leon Brittan, EU trade commissioner.
Brian Wilson, trade minister at the DTI, said: "It is quite wrong for one member of the WTO to decide unilaterally that another member has not complied. This dispute needs to be resolved in the framework of the WTO."
Ironically, the two biggest players in UK greetings cards, Hallmark and Carlton, are US-owned.
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
- 5 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Bali Nine executions in Indonesia: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford says she 'just wants to get it over with'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £22500 per annum + OTE £30K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...
£45K - £55K (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a full stack .NET D...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£50000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Service...