A decades-long dispute over European duties on
Latin American bananas ended Thursday when both sides signed a final
agreement at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva.
Since the early 1990s, Latin American countries had fought the European Union's complex banana import regime that favoured fruits from African, Caribbean and Pacific countries.
Under the deal, European banana duties will fall from this year's rate of 136 euros (174 dollars) per tonne to 114 euros in 2017.
"This is a truly historic moment," WTO director general Pascal Lamy said about the longest multilateral trade dispute after World War II.
"It has taken so long that quite a few people who worked on the cases, both in the (WTO) secretariat and in member governments have retired long ago," he added.
Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru and Venezuela were all part of the agreement or participated in the negotiations.
After the WTO ruled in favour of Latin American producers, it took several years for both sides and the United States to come to agreement in 2009. That deal has now come into force, following a number of legal steps taken by the disputing parties.
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