EU Reduces Tariffs on Banana Imports
Yesterday the European Union reduced tariffs on banana imports from Latin America. That means that the price for bananas from countries like Guatemala could drop by as much as 12%. It is news to Belize - and make that bad news - because it is just one more signal of the end of preferential treatment - Belize's banana exports will now have to compete for Europe's banana dollar on what trade technicians call a level playing field.
General Manager of the Banana Growers Association Sam Mathias told us this evening from the banana belt that it's not positive news but it came as no surprise. He says the only surprise is that it was implemented as of yesterday when they had expected it on January 1st of 2010. Mathias expects it to affect Belize's fledging banana industry but not much.
Last year Belize exported 3.7 million tonnes of banana. This year that could increase to 4.35 million tonnes. Banana raked in roughly US$28 million last year. For context, the European Union was basically forced to reduce tariffs by the United States and other big banana producing countries in Central and South America after 16 years of protracted litigation initiated by multinationals like Dole Food Company.http://www.7newsbelize.com/sstory.php?nid=15780