US vs. Europe--trade war looming? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

You might want to stash your Chateau Lafitte and Glenlivet very soon. From three different articles in the (London) Electronic Telegraph (, December 16, 1998, to January 31, 1999:

". . . The row concerns the latest EU rules on banana imports which give preferential treatment to the former colonies, guaranteeing them access to EU markets. The EU says the regime is necessary to preserve the colonies' economies and prevent farmers turning to less honourable ways of earning a living, such as drug production and trafficking. It agreed to reform its rules after a negative ruling by the WTO [World Trade Organization] last year. But Washington says even these discriminate against US firms.

"Officials in Brussels said America had no reason to complain, as 78 per cent of bananas coming into the EU were from Latin America. Sir Leon said: 'If I may say so, American bananas don't seem to be doing too badly out of the present set-up.'

"The EU believes America is acting for political reasons. Officials cite the large political donations that US banana distributors, such as Chiquita, make to the Democratic Party.

"Last month Washington published a provisional list of EU goods it intended to hit with import duties of 100 per cent as the dispute intensified. This included wine, cheese, clothes, toys and sewing machines. It is now drawing up a final version. . .

". . .In a bizarre retaliatory move, America has placed cashmere jumpers [sweaters] at the top of a hit list of British commodities on which it will impose 100pc import duties if the European Union does not alter its quota system favouring banana imports from former colonies in the Caribbean and Africa. Next on the list are printed cards, batteries and plastics.

"Peter Ackroyd, director of the British Wool Textile Export Corporation, said: 'Industries in Scotland, Yorkshire and Northern Ireland which knit and spin the yarn are totally bewildered. If the row is not sorted out quickly, the effects will be quite disastrous.' . . .The spinning industry in Hawick in the Scottish Borders believes that 1,000 jobs could be lost."

" A SENIOR American official has warned that Europe will 'pay a price' in the dispute over banana imports, despite a World Trade Organisation decision late on Friday forcing Washington to delay sanctions for at least a month.

"But with the EU still insisting that its preferential treatment for bananas from former colonies falls within WTO rules, and the US promising to press ahead with sanctions from March 3, the move appeared only to have postponed a trade war.

". . .European Union diplomats remain pessimistic about the chances of persuading the US to back down, blaming a combination of the impeachment process and the formidable lobbying power of the US-owned banana distributor, Chiquita Brands International, for the administration's hard line. Chiquita stands to make substantial extra profits if the EU changes its rules.

". . .Newly released files from the Federal Election Commission, examined by The Telegraph, show that in the run-up to last November's elections, Carl Lindner, the businessman who heads the company, and other members of his family made scores of individual donations of $1,000 (#600) a time - the maximum allowed by law - to the campaign funds of at least 25 members of Congress. These include 12 senators and 13 victorious members of the House of Representatives, all but one of whom were Republican. Among them were three members of the influential Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which covers trade matters, and Trent Lott, the Senate majority leader, who received contributions totalling $10,000.

"The individual donations were in addition to $860 million given to both Republican and Democrat party organisations nationally by Mr Lindner and his American Financial Group corporate empire, which controls Chiquita.

"The White House promised late last summer to take up trade sanctions against the EU in an effort to prevent Congress enacting a law which would have compelled retaliation over bananas.

"One official said: 'Trent Lott is driving this as well as running the President's trial and the last thing anybody wants right now is to upset him.'. . . .

-- Old Git (, February 01, 1999


It definitely is honing into an east-west hemisphere thing.

-- Other Lisa (, February 01, 1999.

Well it's official. We are now the largest bananna republic in the world.

-- Nikoli Krushev (, February 02, 1999.

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