and North Warwickshire Euro MP Christine Oddy is calling for Europe to stand firm in the
banana war where American pressure threatens to ruin the livelihoods of
thousands of small-scale farmers in the Caribbean.
The dispute, which has now escalated with the United States imposing high import duties
on a range of European goods, including luxury Scottish knitwear, started over allegations
of unfair preference for to producers in the Caribbean and former French colonies in
Growers in islands such as St Lucia and Dominica, had been given special treatment by
the European Union which acknowledged that because of the local geography their farmers
are unable to compete with the large American-owned plantations in Latin America. But
pressure from the American companies led to a World Trade Organisation ruling that the
special preference had to stop.
Now Ms Oddy fears the EUs Council of Ministers, which represents all 15 member
states, may be backing down under American pressure.
"Parliament has backed a fair deal for these growers and I will strongly resist
any pressure to drop our support. We must continue to support the small-scale farmers
while ensuring that these small islands get the help to diversify their economies so they
are no longer over-dependant on just one crop."
Ms Oddy is also insisting that EU help should be limited to small-scale growers and
that multi national producers should be excluded.