African countries have urged the European Union not to cut tariffs on Latin American banana imports any further, Business World Online reports.
Exporters in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) have been losing market share for the last decade. They attribute this to the EU's 2009 decision to progressively reduce tariffs for Latin American countries.
The lower duties reduced the advantage previously enjoyed by ACP growers in mostly former European colonies. Those countries have tax-free access to European markets.
The EU has provided those countries with around €200m (US$220m) in compensation.
At a convention on Friday in the capital of the Ivory Coast, Abidjan, banana industry representatives from Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Ghana urged the EU not to cut tariffs on Latin American producers below €75 per ton, the rate which will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
They fear recent trade discussions between the EU and Colombia, Ecuador and Peru could lead to even lower tariffs.
“The African, Caribbean and Pacific producers are worried about the constant weakening over the past few years of their access to the European market,” said Gervais Kacou, spokesman for an association representing African banana producers.
The African producers also called on the EU to continue to support their farmers when the current compensation scheme expires at the end of this year.