Chiquita banana firm sues European Commission over loss of revenue from importing bananas into Europe
Chiquita Brands International filed a lawsuit in the EU's Court of First Instance against the European Commission over loss of revenue from importing bananas into Europe. Chiquita claims that the European Commission failed to carry out the European Union's commitment to reform its banana import regime in line with the 1997 World Trade Organisation (WTO) rulings.
The company is seeking 564 million euro for damages caused by the 1999 amended banana regime. The suit also reserves the right to claim future damages based on the current illegality of the regime, including harm that Chiquita will suffer when the Commission implements its 'first come, first served' system.
The WTO has ruled that the EU import regime for bananas favours Europe's former colonies over Latin American producers. In 1999, the European Union adopted a new banana regime in an attempt to end the trade dispute. But the EU is still waiting for the US to lift sanctions. The new system would involve a transitional tariff quota system, operating on a 'first come first served' basis. The system would eventually be replace by a tariff-only system by 2006.