Europeans may soon be eating more Costa Rican bananas, as tariffs slipped from €176 per ton to €148 on May 31st.
Under an agreement finalized in December and signed Monday, all bananas coming from Latin America will be entering the European market with the reduced tariff. Those producers who sold bananas during the months between the finalization of the agreement and Monday’s signing will be reimbursed retroactively.
“The immediate reduction from €176 to €148 allows Costa Ricans to compete in improved conditions in the European market, which should bring better prices for each producer,” read a statement from the Foreign Trade Ministry.
The tariffs on Latin American bananas will continue to drop until they reach €114 per ton in January 2017. But thanks to the Central American-European Union association agreement signed in mid-May, Central American countries will enjoy a greater reduction to €75 per ton.
For years, Latin American bananas had trouble competing in the European market, as they were up against those of African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, which paid no tariff.
Europe currently imports more than 4.8 million tons of bananas – 3.8 million from Latin America – and produces only 10.5 percent of the bananas it consumes. The largest Latin American supplier is Ecuador, followed by Colombia and Costa Rica (TT, Dec. 18).