The European Commission said yesterday that annual trade worth nearly £1 billion with the United States could be put at risk after Washington issued a list of European products which could face 100 percent duties next year if it does not get a change in the EU’s banana import regime . . . The US does not grow bananas except in Hawaii, and does not export those it has to the EU. But the Clinton administration lodged a complaint with the WTO (World Trade Organisation) last year within 24 hours of a decision by Chiquita’s previously staunchly Republican chairman Carl H. Lindner Jnr to donate $500,000 to Democratic party funds. Guardian, 12 November 1998.
Chiquita, the US banana-exporting multi-national, controls more than 70 percent of the EU market already but wants to prevent European importation of Caribbean bananas. Chiquita sold the Caribbean plantations five years ago to concentrate on its Latin American plantations.