Banana war ends after 20 years

Bananas Latin American growers said European countries were favouring bananas from their former colonies

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An international trade dispute over bananas dating back two decades has finally been settled.

The European Union and 10 Latin American countries signed an agreement to formally end eight separate World Trade Organization (WTO) cases.

The head of the WTO, Pascal Lamy, called it a truly historic moment.

The formal agreement followed the EU agreeing in December 2009 to gradually reduce the tariffs on Latin American bananas.

Latin American banana exporters had long protested against EU tariffs designed to protect small growers in former European colonies in Africa and the Caribbean.

"After so many twists and turns, these complicated and politically contentious disputes can finally be put to bed," Mr Lamy said.

"It has taken so long that quite a few people who worked on the cases, both in the secretariat and in member governments have retired long ago."

The December 2009 agreement involved the EU reducing its tariffs on imported bananas from 176 euros ($224; £140) per tonne to 114 euros per tonne within eight years.

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