Banana Wars: The Price of Free Trade: A Caribbean Perspective

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Zed Books, 2004 - Business & Economics - 191 pages
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Bananas are taken for granted today as part of the diet of ordinary people in industrial countries. In the Windward Islands of the Caribbean, bananas provided around one-third of all jobs and half their export earnings – until recent WTO rulings began to undermine the industry. Much of this trade and employment has now disappeared as a result of these rulings; and at the end of 2005, the EU is due to give up the last non-tariff measures designed to enable this trade to continue. Unemployment, poverty, and further emigration therefore loom over these islanders, or the tempting alternative of growing and trading in illegal drugs. And all because WTO rules take too little account of the problems of tiny island economies and the human cost of rigid application of global free-trade rules.

In this absorbing history, Gordon Myers tells the extraordinary story of how the US government, in response to grievances of one American corporation, led the World Trade Organisation to nullify a European Community commitment to protect the livelihood of small Caribbean banana growers. The WTO's own working practices also emerge as inflexible and myopic.

The story illustrates the inadequacy of an international trading system dominated by free-trade ideology but lacking the flexibility necessary to enable very small and highly vulnerable states, like the Windward Islands, to receive the protection that they need in order to survive. Moreover, increasingly powerful supermarket chains are able to exploit this free-trade framework to insist on ever lower prices, to the short-term benefit of consumers but the serious detriment of growers in the developing world.

This book is a call for new arrangements in the EU that will enable the Caribbean banana industry to survive beyond 2005, and for an outlook in the WTO that gives greater consideration to the needs of very small states with vulnerable economies.

 

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This author is clearly not educated as a writer.
He claims to be a hero when he writes, and his other books he is anything but a hero.
More like a Bully looking for attention and finding it.

Contents

Introduction
1
The Beginnings
5
A Benevolent Empire
11
The Windward Islands
18
Banana Wars in the Commonwealth
22
Judicial Review and Resolve to Reform
30
Pre1993
37
The Market and the Major Players
42
Spin and Reality ΙΟΙ
101
Seeking an Agreed Solution III
111
Cotonou Complications
120
Winners and Losers
125
A Threatened Future
137
Prospects for Survival
146
Equitable Trading?
154
Reflections on the WTO
159

Negotiating the New Regime
52
The First GATT Challenges 199394
65
Compromise at Marrakesh
70
Chiquita and the US Campaign
75
The First WTO Case
83
A Disputed Conformity
91
Postmortem
167
Afterword by Edison James
171
A Climate of Uncertainty
173
Notes
177
Index
185
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Gordon Myers, CMG, is a former senior British civil servant who, since 1993, has worked with the Caribbean Banana Exporters Association (CBEA) in trying to defend the interests of Caribbean banana growers who depend on the European market. His service in the former Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) (1951-89) included two periods dealing with crises in the Caribbean banana trade in 1970-73 and 1982-84. From 1975 to 1979, he was seconded to the Foreign Office to serve in the UK Permanent Representation to the EEC. Following retirement, he acted as Special Adviser to the British House of Commons Agriculture Committee during its inquiry into the negotiations for a single European market regime for bananas.
Gordon Myers, CMG, is a former senior British civil servant who, since 1993, has worked with the Caribbean Banana Exporters Association (CBEA) in trying to defend the interests of Caribbean banana growers who depend on the European market. His service in the former Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) (1951-89) included two periods dealing with crises in the Caribbean banana trade in 1970-73 and 1982-84. From 1975 to 1979, he was seconded to the Foreign Office to serve in the UK Permanent Representation to the EEC. Following retirement, he acted as Special Adviser to the British House of Commons Agriculture Committee during its inquiry into the negotiations for a single European market regime for bananas.

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