Jamaica: Essential to renegotiate banana protocols

Throughout the 1970s, up to the year 2000, the Jamaican banana boom caused economic growth and stability. As the preferential trade agreement between the African Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP) and the European Union came to a close at the end of the 20th century, there came a new ACP-EU accord (‘the Cotonou Agreement’). This stated that ACP banana exporters would no longer enjoy duty-free access to the EU market and be subject to a new regime of the Banana Protocol, starting January 1, 2006.

Jamaica would now have access to the EU with a duty of 176 euros per tonne of bananas. And because the country failed to put in the mechanism or requisite investment to sustain the export of bananas -which contributed US$ 30,000,000 annually to its GDP, for some 34,000 tonnes of bananas produced annually for export- export numbers dropped dramatically

For 2016 annual exports of 412 tonnes were reported; almost negligible compared to 10 years prior.

The Cotonou agreement will end in 2020. The Jamaica Gleaner reports how Jamaica only has two years to implement a deliberate plan to produce bananas in export quantities. As a prerequisite, Jamaica has four to six months to create and approve a banana export business model for the country. Only this will allow this nation to be a clear voice, promoting more favourable terms for the ACP and, by extension, Jamaica.

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