The European Parliament has given its approval for Ecuador to join the Free Trade Agreement it has with Colombia and Peru subject to safeguards to protect European banana producers from Ecuadorean imports.
Members voted overwhelmingly in favour of a resolution to approve Ecuador’s accession provided it agrees to a number of measures on issues such as sustainable development, deforestation and the rights of women and children.
Euro MP Gabriel Mato said he was in favour of the agreement but warned that it must not come to the detriment of producers in the Canary Islands and other parts of the EU.
The parliament is seeking the inclusion of a mechanism allowing the European Commission to reintroduce tariffs if banana imports rise disproportionately and threaten EU production and jobs.
Ecuadorean banana shipments to the EU and shipments have risen steadily since the tariff reduction agreement reached in Geneva last year. By 2020 they are due to reach €75 per tonne.
The parliament’s International Trade Commission is due to hold a meeting with the Council of Ministers on Monday 30 November to hammer out the details of the safety clause to regulate imports.
Bernd Lange, president of the Commission, said the agreement would include measures “to ensure that the trade and investment it creates contribute to the alleviation of poverty and inequalities”. He praised the Ecuadorean government’s efforts to create a more integrated society.