The European Parliament voted by a large majorrity to allow Ecuador to join the Free Trade Agreement it has with Colombia and Peru. The Parliament heard from Ecuador’s trade minister of the major progress made in reducing poverty and in investing some 40 billion dollars in social development over the last eight years. The deal means that the tariff Ecuadorian bananas pay to enter the EU will be reduced to 75 euros/tonne by 2020 – the same level as for Colombia and Peru.
The EP approved Ecuador’s accession to the Agreement provided that the country agrees to a number of measures on issues such as sustainable development, deforestation and the rights of women. This includes respect for the core ILO conventions.
However Canarian members warned that Ecuador’s banana exports should not be to the detriment of producers in the Canary Islands and other parts of the EU. The Parliament is therefore seeking the inclusion of a ‘safeguard mechanism’ allowing the European Commission to reintroduce higher tariffs if Latin American banana imports rise disproportionately and threaten EU production and jobs.
Bernd Lange, president of the Commission, said the agreement would include measures “to ensure that the trade and investment it creates contribute to the alleviation of poverty and inequalities”. He praised the Ecuadorian government’s efforts to “create a more integrated society”.
Sources: www.fruitnet.com and other trade press.
Photo: Banana LInk