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Banana wars: European Union

The European Union's role in the banana wars.

Stefan Martin

on 5 March 2013

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Transcript of Banana wars: European Union

The Banana Wars Stakeholder:
The European Union The European Union is a major political piece of the Banana Wars puzzle. The EU is made of of many European nations, including France, the UK, Germany, and Spain. Together, they are the largest importer of bananas in the world. The EU has a political dimension, as it is a government whose interests in the banana wars are mainly political. Their role is to govern everything that happens in Europe. They work mainly with the World Trade Organization and many other political aspects, such as other governments. They also, in this case, work with banana farmers in their former colonies. The EU plays a big role in the lives of these banana farmers. They give the farmers benefits, such as paying no taxes on banana imports to Europe, which helps the farmers compete with big corporations. However, this causes problems for these corporations and, in turn, the U.S government, because the companies still have to pay taxes, even though the small farms don't. Who? Where? This issue relates to globalization in that without it, these global trade disputes would never have occurred. If bananas could not be exported around the world, there would be no disputes about taxes on their importation. The problems faced in the banana wars are common to many aspects of globalization. The problems faced by the banana farmers are similar to those faced by the Coltan Miners in a few ways. For example, in class we talked about plantation workers becoming sick because of pesticides used. This relates to the miners in that the plantation workers and the miners are both being hurt by the work they are doing. How does it relate to globalization? Why? Greg,Stefan,Matthew What?/When? The main issue arose in 1991 when the European Union decided to change the import taxes for it's former colonies.The goal of this change was to give economical support to their former colonies without directly given them money or resources. These colonies include Jamaica, St. Lucia, and various other countries. But they did not change anything for the Americans or any of the countries where the American companies were based. This sparked an outrage in America, as, according to the WTO, taxes and tariffs were meant to be equal for all. The Americans quickly placed taxes on all imports from Europe. The battle between the Americans and Europeans, continuously refereed by the WTO, finally came to an end in 2012 when the European Union gave in and agreed to lower the import tax to $149 per ton, and then lower it over the next few years to $114 per ton. The EU cares about the situation because it started the wars, inadvertently, by providing tax breaks to their former colonies. They did this because they wanted to assist the small farms of these countries, so that they could compete with transnational corporations, such as Chiquita and Dole. However, this angered the corporations, who filed a lawsuit with the WTO. The EU was then forced to change it's policy regarding banana-importation, to appease the corporations. How does it relate to us? Our opinions... Personally, we find this issue is a bit tiresome. A 20 year trade war over one small decision? It should have been quick to resolve this minor injustice. And is it even an injustice? Giving small farms and small, private companies a slight financial encouragement to sell bananas to the EU should cause no problems to the multinational, billion dollar corporations. This issue goes to show just how fragile our international relations truly are and raises questions as to what "fairness" truly is. Is it really fair that small banana plantations, whose output is fairly small, have to compete with massive corporate farms? We don't think so. As the name implies, the European Union is based in Europe. Although they have no official base they almost always convene in Brussels, Belgium. The old colonies include Jamaica and St Lucia, as well as the Bahamas, and many other Carribbean countries. This issue, while it may not involve us
Canadians directly, is still relevant. We are also a
major consumer of bananas (on average we eat 100 per person per year) and therefore we could easily have been dragged into the thick of the banana wars. This could have affected the price and availability of bananas in Canmore. This subject also raises awareness of the disputes that could arise over other goods which Canada trades, such as oil. Can anyone guess the weight, in tons, of the bananas imported into Europe per year? A quick question: how much do you think the import taxes for the American companies actually were (per ton)? 176 Euros per ton 5.5 Million tons per year. Given that the average banana weighs 5 ounces, that makes 27.5 million bananas.
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