This week's In the News examines recent US government designs to sanction $568 million worth of European Union (EU) goods in response to the long-running "Banana Dispute." Trade delegates from the US, Ecuador, Guatamala, Honduras, and Mexico met on January 12, 1999 to ask the World Trade Organization's Dispute Settlement Body (WTO DSB) to review the EU's new banana import and marketing regime, effective January 1. This action constitutes the strongest in a long run of American-European trade battles over banana imports since 1993, and could compromise the financial security hoped for among EU nations at the dawn of the EURO (discussed in the January 1, 1999 Scout Report
). While the US maintains that 100-percent import tariffs on European products ranging from cheese to bath salts to greeting cards is necessary to counter the "preferential treatment" given to former European colonies over other banana-exporting nations, EU officials have deemed their current banana policy as "entirely compatible with WTO rules." Hailing the US as a "schoolyard bully," among other slants, many members of the international press have deplored the American threat of sanctions. Commentators in the UK, Germany, Brazil, and China, for example, question why the US would choose such "protectionist" and "threatening" measures in the face of a potentially global economic crisis. The ten resources discussed provide US and international news, organizational links, and trade dispute documents from the World Trade Organization.
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