Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Insights into the 'Banana Wars'

We are pleased to announce we hav added a handlist to the archives of the Caribbean Banana Exporters' Association to our archives catalogue. We wish to thank Norris Saakwa-Mante, an archives volunteer with us late last year, who worked on creating this list.

The Caribbean Banana Exporters Association established a London lobby in 1988 to defend its rights during pending trade discussions and disputes under both the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the lobby remains active. The CBEA comprises representatives of banana growers and exporting companies from all the Caribbean countries that are involved in the banana export trade. These are Belize, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Surinam and the four Windward Islands- St Lucia, Dominica, St Vincent & the Grenadines, and Grenada. The collection held at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies Archives provides insight into the disputes and the underlying political and economic concern, as well as revealing how the campaign to protect Caribbean growers used lobbying and public relations techniques within the UK, the European Union and the United States. The dispute came to a resolution late 2009, with a decision by the European Union to sign an agreement with Latin American countries to end the long running trade war. The new accord slashes import taxes on bananas from Latin America, from Euro 176 (US$262 dollars) a tonne to Euro 114 (US$170 dollars) over the next seven years. Caribbean governments have criticised the accord and have joined African and Pacific countries in warning that the new accord with Latin America would severely impact upon their struggling economies.

The list of records held is available at http://archives.ulrls.lon.ac.uk/resources/ICS148.pdf

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