Ecuador has escalated a long-running dispute with the EU over banana tariffs.

The South American producer has carried out its threat and filed a formal complaint to the WTO over the €176/tonne duty imposed by the EU on imports of the fruit. The tariff came into force at the start of this year - but African, Caribbean and Pacific producers are exempt, because of their special relationship with the EU.

Ecuador says it cannot compete under these conditions.

But Central American and Caribbean countries in the Caricom trading bloc say they are happy with the arrangement. "All the data shows that Ecuador is still entering the market and in fact their exports to the EU have increased," Caricom Trade Council chairman Eamon Courtenay told AFP.

Banana imports from Latin America rose 8.2% in the year to August and still account for almost 80% of EU banana supplies.