Banana imports to the EU will continue to operate under a quota tariff system for the next five years, ministers have decided. However, the crucial decision over how this should be allocated remains unclear until the Commission decides still leaving the fate of Caribbean producers in limbo. At present there are two alternatives. These are based either on past trade which would guarantee continued access for Caribbean and ACP fruit, or on a first come first served basis. Dr Marshall Hall, chairman of the Caribbean Banana Exporters' Association has again stressed "it is a matter of life or death to the industry". "The alternative would remove at a stroke our security of access which hitherto has been guaranteed. It would place the Caribbean and ACP countriesat a massive disadvantage against dominate traders in dollars bananas who alone have the flexibility to cope with such a system," he claimed. {{FRESH PRODUCE }}