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May 31, 1999

Fonseca assists US/EU banana negotiations

Minister of Economic Development Ralph Fonseca is assisting with negotiations to resolve the so-called “US/EU Banana Wars”. Last Thursday, Fonseca joined Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur and CARICOM Chairman Keith Mitchell of Grenada in Washington DC for meetings with Secretary of State Madeline Albright and US Envoy to Latin America and the Caribbean Governor Buddy McKay of Florida. Discussions centered on finding a solution in which the Caribbean’s banana quota, access and price incentive could function, but still be consistent with World Trade Organization rules. The United States has contended that the preferential treatment being given to the Caribbean’s banana exports violates WTO regulations while the Caribbean maintains that the future of the region’s industry is being compromised by the United States’ position and support for Central American growers. The U.S. is being urged by CARICOM to continue dialog with the European Union to find an acceptable position.

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