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[03 FEB 99] CHRISTINE ODDY PRESS RELEASE
Oddy Urges Firm Stand In Banana War

Coventry 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 Africa.

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 EU’s Council of Ministers, which represents all 15 member states, may be backing down under American pressure.

She said:

"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.
 

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Christine Oddy MEP



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CWN / News / Newswire / Christine Oddy MEP / 03 Feb 99

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