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 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
- 4 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
- 5 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
Spain accused of 'provocation' after letting Russian submarine refuel off Gibraltar
Allonautilus scrobiculatus: World's 'rarest' creature spotted for only the third time ever
Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
iJobs Money & Business
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...