The European Union and Ecuador have released an ‘Understanding’, supposedly to resolve outstanding issues between the two camps on the import of Caribbean bananas into the EU.

It addresses a number of specific issues of concern to the Ecuadorians that had not troubled the USA in its parallel dispute at the World Trade Organisation.

In particular, the agreement binds the European Commission to examine and report on its organic banana import trade by 2005, to ensure that trade preferences granted to these more labour intensive fruit do not become a disguised barrier against non-organic plantation bananas from Latin America.

Brussels is also to “provide regularly the verified statistics on the importation of bananas from Ecuador”.

By Keith Nuthall, correspondent