Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Chiquita Emerges as Top Banana in WTO Ruling Against the EU

March 19, 1997|From Washington Post

A transatlantic banana war appears to be ending in victory for the United States--and for one of America's most prodigious political donors, Carl Lindner of Chiquita Brands International Inc.

The triumph for the Clinton administration and Lindner's Chiquita Banana empire came in a preliminary ruling delivered Tuesday by a World Trade Organization panel. The WTO held that the European Union's banana policy violates global trade rules, according to people familiar with the decision.

The decision, which remains confidential pending a final public report, is likely to doom EU rules that restrict sales of Chiquita bananas in Europe in favor of bananas grown in several impoverished former European colonies, including Jamaica and Belize.

EU officials have warned that the Caribbean countries may slip even further toward economic ruin if their banana exports are denied the special edge they enjoy with European consumers over Chiquita's more competitive bananas.

The dispute has attracted considerable attention among trade experts because of questions about Washington's motives in pursuing the case at the WTO.

The trade representative's office has defended its actions as a legitimate pursuit of U.S. interests, noting that Chiquita employs nearly 10,000 people at its Cincinnati headquarters.

Lindner and companies he controls have donated more than $1 million to both major parties over the past four years. He loaned corporate jets to GOP presidential candidate Bob Dole. He also was invited to coffee with President Clinton and a sleepover at the White House.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|