The international banana trade is adjusting to the changes in the EU import regime that were implemented on January 1.
A single tariff has replaced a licence-based quota system, a move that has proved contentious, with the EU and exporters unable to agree on an acceptable level for the tariff.
Latin American growers will still seek a reduction of the €176/tonne tariff
through negotiations with the EU or WTO. Commentators are warning that Caribbean growers could be “wiped off the banana trading map”. EU prices for bananas are said to be down considerably, with Ecuador poised to boost exports.
Alistair Smith of pro-Caribbean campaign group Banana Link, said: “Small Caribbean farmers will be squeezed out unless British consumers and supermarkets support the whole industry becoming Fairtrade.”