Political representatives attended a conference recently held in the European Parliament about the current situation of European bananas and the worrying loss of absolute value and the saturation of the banana market in the EU. Delegates unanimously showed their concern about the effects generated by the preferential agreements for banana imports from third countries. They also aligned with the proposal to establish the same phytosanitary and environmental standards required for all community and non-EU productions.
The EU General Directorate of Commerce confirmed the Commission's commitment not to reduce the € 75/ton tariff currently applied to banana imports from third countries through trade agreements without the option of renegotiating a lower tariff.
The Euro parliamentarians moved their agreement based on the urgency of applying fair market regulation to replace the current stabilization mechanism, which has proven to be completely ineffective, as well as the need to establish the obligation for all agricultural imports to come from sources that meet the same rules that are imposed on European producers, especially regarding the use of phytosanitary products, with the aim of avoiding the current unfair competition that the sector must face. They also discussed the importance of respecting the rights of European consumers to have transparent information about the differences between the production models of the European Union and those of third countries, and a label that informs them about the origin of the imported products.
This act also confirmed the commitment that the European Commission, Council, and Parliament have with community producers to establish the necessary measures for the survival of the sector in the event that banana imports end up causing serious deterioration of the market's situation or of the banana producers in the Union.
The president of ASPROCAN, Domingo Martin Ortega, expressed his satisfaction with the commitments made by the European representatives.
Europe produces and sells approximately 700,000 tons of bananas in accordance with European regulations, which are among the strictest in the world. Plantain and banana production from the ultra peripheral regions (RUP) even goes one step further, complying with very strict self-imposed environmental requirements. In just under 15 years, their production practices have led to a 75% reduction in the use of pesticides. Their goal is to achieve an additional 50% reduction by 2025.
In addition to these environmental commitments, European production creates approximately 40,000 jobs (direct and indirect) and more than 500 million euro of net GDP.
The European market, which imports 6.5 million tons of bananas each year, is the largest banana importer in the world. 75% of these bananas are imported from Latin American countries.