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Crean endorses banana trade breakthrough

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Ending a dispute that’s been running for 16 years, Minister for Trade Simon Cream has welcomed a breakthrough deal that will cut the European Union (EU) banana import tariff, alongside a related agreement to provide deeper tariff cuts on the importation of tropical products. Crean said the deals on bananas and tropical products would generate much-needed momentum towards concluding the Doha Round in 2010. "This demonstrates that with goodwill countries both large and small can get together in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to solve their commercial disagreements," he said. The dispute on bananas, which was lodged with the WTO in 1993, was resolved last week in Geneva. The agreement to cut EU import tariffs was agreed to between the European Union, the USA, and banana-producing countries in Latin America, Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. "This breakthrough on bananas is good for farmers in small developing countries, good for consumers, good for international trade, and good for the WTO and multilateralism," Crean said. The related agreement on tropical product EU import tariff cuts could also prove to be lucrative for Australia, Crean explained. The complete list of tropical products has yet to be finalised for each market, but it could include important Australian exports such as canola oil, citrus fruits, avocadoes, and nuts such as macadamias and almonds.

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