|June 3, 2004, as reported
by just-food.com: The European Union continues its move to
a tariff-only import system for bananas. This week the European Commission
has proposed to the Council of EU Ministers that they open WTO negotiations.
In 2001 the EC and the Council agreed to move from the current
quota system to a tariff-only system no later than 2006. The WTO
negotiations would be the first step in establishing the new system.
Once the Council has agreed, the EC will negotiate the import tariff
for bananas with the relevant producer countries. It will seek to
maintain the same level of protection and preferences for African,
Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries as the existing regime provides
while entirely respecting its obligations and commitments with regard
to its other trading partners, EU producers and EU consumers.
“We are now moving to the final phase of our agreement and
replacing the complex quota system by a simple tariff system. What
will change is the import regime, not the level of protection. If
our Member States agree, the Commission will negotiate an adequate
tariff level. We will have to square the circle and safeguard the
sometimes conflicting interests of our consumers, producers and
trading partners,” said Franz Fischler, EU Commissioner for
Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries.