Statement Regarding Trade Decisionon EU Banana Policy

Mar 5, 1999

Statement on the U.S. Trade Representative announcement
regarding the European Union Banana Regime

Chairman Larry Combest (R-Texas) and Ranking Minority Member Charles W. Stenholm (D-Texas) jointly issued the following statement after the U.S. Trade Representative announcement regarding the European Union Banana Regime.

"We have been advised that the World Trade Organization has delayed its decision regarding retaliation by the United States and requested additional information from both the U.S. and the European Union regarding the EU failure to comply with the WTO decision on its banana policy.  The United States Trade Representative has determined that until the WTO issues its decision, the U.S. will impose a liability for sanctions on products from the European Union valued at over $500 million.

While we would have preferred that the WTO met its obligation to render this decision within 30 days, we agree that, at least, the imposition of conditional liability protects U.S. interests involved in this case.  However, this does not resolve the case, and when the WTO arbitrator completes its work, retaliation must be implemented retroactive to the dates outlined in the White House letter of October 10, 1998, on bananas and beef.

Free and fair agricultural trade can only take place when countries abide by decisions of the WTO.  The policies of the European Union regarding bananas and beef were found to be in violation of WTO rules.  The EU should have implemented the WTO banana decision on January 1, 1999, and because it failed to do so, must now suffer the consequences of retaliation.

We would also remind the EU that on May 13, 1999, it is required to implement the WTO decision on beef hormones.  Implementation of that decision should provide access to the EU market for beef, a market unfairly denied to U.S. beef producers for more than 10 years.  Failure to implement the WTO decision in that case will also warrant retaliation by the United States as outlined in the White House letter of October 10, 1998."

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