Hidden European Union Trade Regulations: The Case of the Banana Import Regime and the Lack of Perception
14 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2021
Date Written: January 13, 2021
Given the current Trump´s stated trade policy it is interesting how the EU has established silently in the past trade barriers. The banana regime (BR) has been one of the most politically sensitive, technically complicated and economically complex legal disputes. The BR has started after WWII as a protection measure for former European colonies. With the single European market, a European-wide import regime was established. BR was introduced, even though the EC had to know that it conflicted with international trade rules. The paper shows the various effects caused by the banana import regime. The banana price increase reduced the banana consumption, which led to a dead-weight loss in the EU and welfare losses of the exporting countries. On the other side, the demand for substitutes (e.g., apple, pears) increased. The efficiency of the supply chain was impaired leading to additional environmental pollution. The regulation created incentives for customs fraud. The organized crime (Mafia) received an enormous cash inflow. The BR is a deliberate violation of international law; it reduces consumer welfare, it harms environment and sustainability and leads to an inequality of income distribution. Against this background, the paper examines why neither consumers nor European politicians perceived the BR as a problem, why was there no public pressure, why there was no ecological resistance, and why the WTO-negotiations could be delayed so long.
Keywords: banana market regime, trade policy
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation