Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

2 Iyar 5761 - April 25, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Observations: Peace Treaty Reached in Banana Wars
by A. Turgeman

Military wars go down in the annals of history according to the various names. The same is true of economic wars, such as the one recently mentioned on the pages of international economic journals after the European Union and the United States announced an agreement that put an end to the prolonged trade dispute known as the Banana War.

It all began in the year 2000 when the World Trade Organization permitted the U.S. to impose sanctions on the import of products from Europe after complaints by the U.S. that the import of bananas provided the European Union with an advantage over Latin American banana growers in former European colonies in Africa and in the Caribbean Islands. Among the major corporations harmed by the decision was American company Chiquita, the world's biggest banana grower. The economic damage was so great that until the beginning of 2001, Chiquita announced that it had ceased making payments and that it was considering going to a bankruptcy court to request protection from its creditors. It laid the blame on the European Union.

Eventually an international settlement was reached and the tension abated. According to the agreement, starting July 1st the U.S. will suspend $200 million worth of duties imposed in 1999 on a variety of goods imported from Europe and Canada, from French cosmetic products to British flax to Canadian beef. As Pascal Lamy, trade commissioner of the European Union, explained, "The agreement is a significant breakthrough, putting an end to a historical dispute."

An end to the trade conflict between the U.S. and the European Union could pave the way to a solution to additional trade disputes between the U.S. and the European Union, and perhaps--who knows?--to reduced suspicion in other areas.


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