San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica seeks to reactivate the Union of Banana Exporting Countries

Costa Rica will lead a process to evaluate if the countries that were part of the Union of Banana Exporting Countries (UPEB) are interested in reviving the organization, created in 1974.

Tania López Lee, vice minister of agriculture and livestock, said that Costa Rica obtained the approval of other Central American countries to organize talks to revive UPEB and to incorporate Ecuador as a new member.

This is one of the agreements reached at the last meeting of the Central American Agricultural Council, held in Colombia on Sept. 25.

Past UPEB member countries included Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Venezuela. Ecuador, the world’s largest banana exporter, has confirmed interest in joining the organization.

Efforts among member countries will be led by a working group from Costa Rica’s Agriculture and Livestock Ministry and the National Banana Corporation.

A series of scandals involving bribe accusations, high taxes and lawsuits diminished UPEB’s influence in the world export market, and its activity has been limited to charging a small tax on corporate banana exports.

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