Bloomberg | 18 July 2009
Correa Says EU Must Cut Banana Levy for Trade Talks to Progress
By Stephan Kueffner
July 18 (Bloomberg) — Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said his country won’t keep negotiating a commercial agreement with the European Union until the trade bloc complies with World Trade orders to cut duties on Ecuadorean bananas.
Correa said that the EU has ignored nine WTO rulings favoring Ecuador, the world’s biggest banana exporter. The rulings, he said, order the EU to cut a duty of 176 euros ($248.20) it charges to import a ton of bananas from Ecuador.
“If the EU doesn’t comply with the WTO, we won’t continue to negotiate that trade agreement,” Correa said today in his regular Saturday radio-and-television broadcast. “In the end we might lose a few dollars, however, we won’t lose our dignity.”
The commercial trade negotiations include Andean neighbors Colombia and Peru, which have also agreed to free trade agreements with the U.S. In 2006, Correa’s predecessor, Alfredo Palacio, refused to sign a similar deal between the U.S. and Ecuador.