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Asprocan Asks the EU to Support Plátano de Canarias

10.10.2019

The president of Asprocan, Domingo Martín, said that the support of Community Institutions is "vital" to maintain the production of bananas in Europe, and because of that he urged for specific mechanisms to be adapted to the Outermost Regions (RUP) in order to compete with bananas from third countries.

In the meeting between the political representatives of Spain, France, and Portugal they unanimously showed their "concern" about the effects generated after banana imports from third countries reached preferential agreements, and coincided with the proposal to establish the same standards in Phytosanitary and environmental requirements for all productions, both community and non-EU.

The EU General Directorate of Commerce confirmed the Commission's commitment not to reduce the tariff of 75 euros per tonne currently applied to banana imports from third countries through trade agreements, without the option of renegotiating a lower tariff.

It was also recognized that there is a difference between the two productions and the need to improve compliance with social and environmental commitments on agreements with third countries.

Thus, the parliamentarians expressed the urgency of applying fair market regulations to replace the current stabilization mechanism, which has proven to be "completely ineffective", as well as the need to establish the obligation for all agricultural imports to come from sources that comply with the same production standards that are imposed to European producers, especially with regard to the use of phytosanitary products, aiming to avoid the current "unfair competition" that the sector is facing.

In addition, the importance of respecting the right of European consumers was remarked, they need to have transparent information on the differences between the production models of the European Union and those of third countries, as well as having a label that informs them about the origin of imported products.

This act confirmed the commitment by the European Commission, the Council and the European Parliament with the Community producers to establish the necessary measures for the "survival" of the sector, should banana imports end up generating a "serious deterioration" of the market situation or of the banana producers in the Union.

According to Asprocan figures, Europe produces and sells approximately 700,000 tons of bananas including Plátano de Canarias in accordance with European regulations, which are among the strictest in the world.

The production of Plátano de Canarias and bananas from the ultra-peripheral communities even goes one step further, complying with very strict self-imposed environmental requirements and in just under 15 years, their production practices have led to a 75% reduction in the use of pesticides, with an objective of achieving an additional 25% reduction by 2025.

In addition to these environmental commitments, European production creates approximately 40,000 jobs (direct and indirect) and more than 500 million euros of net GDP.

Europe imports 6.5 million tons of bananas every year, it is the largest importer of that fruit in the world, 75 percent from Latin American countries.

The reduction of customs tariffs has led to an increase in the volume of low-cost banana imports, while the constant increase in supply in the EU market has led to an oversupply and the consequent fall in prices, according to Asprocan and for that reason between 2015 and 2018, the price of bananas fell by 15%, from 14.10 euros to 11.90 per box.

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