EEC - Import Regime for Bananas
EEC Bananas II (Source: GATT Analytical Index)
|Products at issue
|Type of product
Fruits and dried fruits
Key legal aspects
|K. Kesavapany (Singapore)
|Ernst-Ulrich Petersmann (Germany, Fed. Rep.), Thomas Cottier (Switzerland)
|No of Pages (total / legal reasoning)
|52 (and 4 annex)
|Request for consultations
|Request for establishment
|Outcome of the proceedings
|DS38/1 (08/02/1993) Request for consultations (28/01/1993) concerning the Decision of 17/12/1992 of the Council of Ministers of Agriculture of the Community on the common organization of the market in bananas, which "further aggravates the conditions of access for (…) banana exports, which have been the subject of consultations [DS32/1]"
DS38/R (18/01/1994) EEC - Import Regime for Bananas - Report of the Panel: The Panel found that the specific tariffs applied by the EEC on imports of bananas since 1 July 1993 accorded treatment to imports of bananas less favourable than that provided for in the EEC's Schedule of Concessions and were, therefore, inconsistent with the EEC's obligations under Article II:1. The Panel could not agree with the argument presented by the EEC that this inconsistency could be justified by the fact that the EEC had removed the previously existing quantitative import restrictions on bananas.
The Panel found that the mere fact that the level of the tariff may be such as to make imports of bananas subject to the tariff unprofitable, did not turn the tariff into a quantitative restriction within the meaning of Article XI:1, and that the existence of non-automatic licensing did not change the nature of the tariff quota and was, as such, not inconsistent with Article XI:1. The Panel also found that the EEC's tariff quota for imports of bananas did not discriminate between sources of supply in the sense of Article XIII.
The Panel found that the preferred allocation of part of the tariff quota to importers who purchased EEC bananas was inconsistent with Article III:4. The Panel further found that the preferred allocation of licenses to operators who purchased bananas from ACP countries was inconsistent with the EEC's obligations under Article I:1. Finally, the Panel was of the view that, regardless of the trade effects, the apportioning of 66.5 per cent of the tariff quota to operators who had marketed third-country or non-traditional ACP bananas could not offset or legally justify the inconsistencies of the licensing system with Articles III:4 and I:1.
The Panel found that the security deposit required by the EEC of operators wishing to import bananas was consistent with the terms of Article VIII:1(a). The Panel also found that the complaining parties had not demonstrated that the EEC had acted inconsistently with Article VIII: 1(c).
The Panel recalled that duty-free tariffs and preferential customs duties were applied by the EEC to imports of bananas from ACP countries, and that this favourable treatment was not granted immediately or unconditionally to the like product originating in the territories of the complaining contracting parties. The Panel therefore found that the EEC's preferential tariff treatment of imports of bananas was inconsistent with Article I:1. The Panel concluded that the Lomé Convention was not an agreement of the type covered by Article XXIV. This provision could therefore not justify the inconsistency with Article I.
The Panel noted that neither the Lomé Convention nor its predecessor agreements had been notified to the CONTRACTING PARTIES as commodity agreements covered by Article XX(h). Noting the limited membership of the Lomé Convention and the fact that the EEC had never claimed it to be a non-discriminatory commodity agreement open to all banana producer and consumer countries, the Panel found that the criteria of the ECOSOC Resolution 30(IV) had not been met. The Panel therefore concluded that Article XX(h) could not justify the inconsistency with Article I:1 of the EEC's banana preferences.