Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE:DOL) Thursday announced its support of a new European Commission proposal to resolve the longstanding trade dispute between the United States and the European Union (EU) regarding the EU banana import regime. The proposal was communicated to the EU Council on Wednesday, with the EU General Affairs Council to take up the proposal on Monday, October 9.

The proposal calls for the temporary continuation of import quotas (during a transition period to a tariff-only regime) with the rights to import bananas distributed on a "first-come-first-served" basis. Dole Food Company has studied the European proposal in detail and believes that the first-come-first-served licensing system is consistent with WTO agreements.

Dole has followed the many attempts to agree on a license allocation system based on historic reference periods and believes that there is no practical and legal way to reach an agreement on such a system. The company, therefore, is not able to support any system based on historic reference periods.

David DeLorenzo, president and chief operating officer of Dole Food Company, said, "Dole's position is, and always has been, to achieve an open market with free competition for the banana industry." In the context of resolving the dispute over the EU banana import regime, Mr. DeLorenzo said, "Dole believes that the EU Commission's first-come-first-served proposal achieves a non-discriminatory system for the importation of Latin American bananas to the EU and, at the same time, the EU Commission's proposal protects imports from African-Caribbean-Pacific (ACP) countries."

Dole Food Company, Inc., with 1999 revenues of $5.1 billion, is the world's largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and fresh-cut flowers, and markets a growing line of packaged foods.

This release contains forward-looking statements based on current expectations that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements, which are based on management's current expectations, are generally identifiable by the use of terms such as "believes," "will," and similar expressions. The potential risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied herein include weather-related phenomena; market responses to industry volume pressures; product and raw materials supplies and pricing; changes in interest and currency exchange rates; economic crises in developing countries; and quotas, tariffs and other governmental actions. Further information on the factors that could affect Dole's financial results is included in its Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K.

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