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EU Loses Appeal on Banana Import Rules

September 10, 1997|Bloomberg News

The European Union lost its appeal of a ruling by a World Trade Organization panel that the EU's banana-trade regulations violate international free trade agreements. While upholding findings in May of a WTO panel, the WTO Appellate Body also made some refinements in legal interpretation, U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky said. The decision was a victory for Westlake Village-based Dole Food Co. and Cincinnati-based Chiquita Brands International Inc. Chiquita produces 90% of its bananas in Central America and South America, not in the Caribbean, and has about 28% of the global banana trade. The company said the EU policy had "illegally taken" more than 50% of its EU market share. European banana companies said they weren't surprised by the WTO ruling. The European Union will have between 15 months and 18 months to adapt its legislation or offer acceptable compensation to the countries affected by its banana import policy.

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