Fruit suppliers have welcomed a decision by the EU to end the banana import licensing regime, claiming it will cut unnecessary red tape and save cost.

The EU currently requires that non-African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries lodge import licences when importing bananas into the EU. However, importers have claimed the regime is unnecessarily burdensome, costly to operators and provides no useful purpose.

The EU Management Committee for the Common Organization of Agricultural Markets has decided to abolish the requirement from 1 January.

Import licences played a purely monitoring role – and reliable information on import volumes could be found in existing databases, said Freshfel general delegate Philippe Binard.

“This step will bring benefits to importers as well as national administrations,” he added.