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BRIEFLY: TRADE

EU Hopeful of Progress in U.S. Banana Dispute

November 27, 1998| Reuters

The European Union said it was hopeful it could agree with the United States on a timetable for a World Trade Organization review of EU banana import rules, provided Washington met its conditions. The banana trade controversy was raised at a WTO gathering in Geneva this week. Trade sources in Geneva said EU and U.S. negotiators were continuing to meet to try resolving the dispute. After strong words last week, officials were more optimistic of finding a way to solve their row over whether the EU has complied with a 1997 WTO ruling that its banana import policies favored Caribbean growers at the expense of Latin American producers and U.S. marketing companies. The EU says its reformed policy, due to take effect Jan. 1, complies with the WTO, but the U.S. disputes this. Both sides have said they would be prepared, under certain conditions, to let the WTO decide if the EU has complied.

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