The stage for the Great Banana Trade War of 1999 was set in 1993 when EU created a complicated quota system for banana imports that favored former European colonies in Africa. US objected, charging that quotas discriminated against 🍌 grown by US companies in Central America.
2. In 1997, the World Trade Organization sided with US and ruled that EU must change its preferential policy. But EU resisted. Fueling the Clinton admin’s Banana Trade War was the fact that the US trade deficit sat at a nine-year high, approaching $300 billion, surpassing 1986/7.
3. Within hours of Chiquita brands, a powerful, previously Republican-supporting banana multinational, making a $500,000 donation to the Democratic Party, the Clinton administration took the “Banana Wars” to the WTO despite the objections from some free trade proponents in US.
4. From the small starting point that was bananas 🍌🍌🍌🍌 the Banana Trade War with EU quickly escalated, with Clinton admin putting out a hit list of sanctioned EU products that included pecorino cheese 🧀, cashmere, waffles, bath preparation salts, candles🕯 , greeting cards…
5. The US-EU Banana Trade War of 1999 created problems for 71 developing economies in the Caribbean and Africa: Under the 1970s Lome Convention, the EU had committed to promoting free trade with its former colonies which led it to offer preferential terms for 🍌 imports.
6. One of EU’s Targets was Chiquita, the US-based company that controlled 40% of EU’s banana 🍌 market in 1990. Once the EU 🍌 quota and tax system went into effect, Chiquita saw its exports plunge and it lobbied the Clinton admin for help.
7. By 2000, US consumers were paying more for EU exports ranging from French handbags to Italian Pecorino cheese.
The US-EU Great Banana Trade War tapered off a bit, in 2001, after US lifted punitive tariffs and EU said it would phase out quotas, with a final agreement in 2009.
8. So it took the US and the EU **20 years** and lots of twists and turns to end their Banana War - given what’s at stake in the ongoing US-China Trade War, this could drag on for a while. https://www.bbc.com/news/business-20263308 …
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