The Association of European Banana Producers (APEB) has said that a reduction of the current EU banana import tariff of €176 per tonne for Latin American exporters would "wreak havoc on the community and the African-Caribbean-Pacific (ACP) banana trade".
APEB producers from Guadeloupe, Martinique, Madeira and the Canary Islands met in Las Palmas on 17-19 September to analyse the issues surrounding a possible reduction of the tariff.
The group highlighted the fact that EU banana imports from so-called 'third countries' such as Ecuador have increased by 20 per cent in the past two years – a key figure in the EU's appeal against a World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling that existing tariffs limit trade.
"To that effect, the APEB will continue to put pressure on the Spanish, French and Portuguese governments and on the EU itself so that everything possible is done to prevent a fresh tariff reduction," the group said in a statement.
The meeting also discussed the issue of Association Agreements between EU, Andean and Central American countries, the implications of a tariff reduction on ACP economies, and the strengthening of links between the regions of Guadeloupe, Martinique, Madeira and the Canaries.
The long-running banana dispute has seen Latin American exporters complain that the existing €176 tariff offers a barrier to trade, claiming that the EU gives preferential treatment to former colonies in the ACP country group.