The European Union confirmed on
Saturday that Renato Ruggiero, Director General of the World
Trade Organization, had proposed a peace formula intended to
head off a looming EU-US trade war over bananas.
"There's a sort of proposal by Ruggiero ... That proposal
does not mean that the EU is going to accept it," a European
Commission spokesman said.
Commenting on a report in Britain's Financial Times
newspaper, he said EU officials were likely to mull the plan
over the weekend, although no formal announcement was scheduled.
The United States intends to seek WTO approval on Monday to
slap punitive 100 percent duties on a wide range of EU exports,
from cashmere sweaters to pork, in a move Washington estimates
could cost EU businesses $520 million a year.
On Thursday the EU responded by invoking the WTO's General
Council. The other members of the 133-nation world trade
watchdog fear the dispute could spread and undermine the WTO at
a time of growing protectionist sentiment around the globe.
The dispute focuses on the EU's latest banana regime,
introduced from January 1 in response to rulings by WTO panels
that its predecessor violated WTO rules.
The United States, backed by five Latin American banana
exporting countries, argues that the new regime, which still
favors bananas from former European colonies mainly in the
Caribbean, is little changed from its predecessor.
It estimates the loss of business to U.S. fruit marketing
companies at around $500 million a year.