Little Progress Made On Banana Tariffs

September 12, 2008

President Oscar Arias failed to reach an accord on banana exports during meetings this month with European officials.

In a 12-day trip to Europe that ends today, Arias asked officials to honor an agreement, reached during world trade talks in July, to reduce tariffs on bananas imported from Latin America to 114 euros per ton in 2016 from 176 euros per ton today.

But José Manuel Durao Barroso, president of the European Commission, said after a Sept. 4 meeting with Arias that the agreement no longer held water once the so-called Doha talks collapsed July 29.

“We are analyzing the situation, and I want to tell President Arias that the commission … is determined to find a solution that will satisfy all sides,” Durao Barraso said, according to newswire reports.

Arias brought his campaign to the European Parliament on Sept. 3, where he discussed an accord now being negotiated between Central America and the European Union to boost cooperation on trade, aid and policy.

“It’s crucial that the commercial part of this accord be asymmetric, in favor of Central America, and that it (knock down) barriers in areas where Central America has a comparative advantage,” he said in a speech to about 785 parliament members.

Lower tariffs on bananas would save Costa Rica about $400 million over the next eight years, according to a statement from Casa Presidencial.

–Tico Times and wire reports

 

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