Thursday 25 March 1993




Geneva 24 Mar (TWN) -- The European Community's new banana regime was again on the agenda of the GATT Council when it meets Wednesday, but no conclusion was reached -- with consultations continuing between the EC and the Latin American countries on the new regime -- but would come up again at the next meeting.

Latin American banana exporting countries -- Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Venezuela --- who have raised the issue previously are pressing for the setting up of a panel to go into the legality of the EC regime to take effect from 1 July.

The European Community has however so far not allowed the panel to be established, taking the position that a dispute can arise only on the basis of 'measures' after the regime is in force.

The Latin Americans who had raised the legality of the current regime had got a panel established at the last meeting of the Council. The reference to the panel came after failure of the 'good offices' and conciliation efforts of the GATT Director- General invoked by the Latin Americans.

The three member panel with standard terms of reference is headed by Mr. I.G.Patel of India -- a former finance secretary of India and afterwards headed the London School of Economics.

Other items on the Council's agenda include the US anti-dumping and countervailing duty actions against steel imports raised on an earlier occasion by Brazil, new US restrictions on imports of wool suits from Brazil and EC complaint against the US on duties on automobile imports.