Government welcomes breakthrough for bananas and tropical products

Posted by James Ferre on 23rd December 2009

Federal Trade Minister Simon Crean has welcomed a breakthrough deal on banana imports into the European Union ending a dispute that has been running for 16 years.Mr Crean also welcomed a related agreement to provide deeper tariff cuts on the importation of tropical products into Europe, and other markets, which will benefit Australian exporters once the Doha Round is concluded.

The minister said the deals on bananas and tropical products would generate much needed momentum towards concluding the Doha Round in 2010.

The dispute on bananas that was lodged with the world trade body in 1993 was resolved last week in Geneva with an historic agreement between the European Union, the United States, and banana producing countries in Latin America, Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

The deal will cut the EU banana tariff, particularly assisting Latin American countries. However, African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) banana exporting countries are expected to receive up to €200 million (A$325 million) to help them adjust to the increased competition from Latin America.

“This breakthrough on bananas is good for farmers in small developing countries, good for consumers, good for international trade, and good for the WTO and multilateralism,” Mr Crean said.

In a related development, the EU, ACP and Latin American countries concluded a deal to provide tariff cuts on tropical products.

“The deal on tropical products will be extended to all developed country markets as part of the Doha Round,” Mr Crean advised. “This deal on tropical products could provide real benefits for Australian exporters.”

The complete list of tropical products has yet to be finalised for each market, but it could include important Australian exports such as canola oil, citrus fruits, avocadoes, and nuts such as macadamias and almonds.