USTR LIFTS FINES ON EU GOODS
WASHINGTON — The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said Sunday that it had lifted $191 million in sanctions on exports ranging from handbags to bed linen from the European Union. The move was part of the phase-in of a truce in April that ended the banana-cashmere trade war.
The World Trade Organization authorized the sanctions in 1999 after ruling that the EU wrongly favored banana imports from their former colonies in the Caribbean at the expense of Latin America, where U.S. banana companies, such as Chiquita and Dole, have interests.
Importers and retailers had feared an escalation of the trade war would lead to punitive tariffs on imported EU cashmere sweaters, coats, pullovers and vests, which were threatened during the impasse. The accord reached in April provides for bananas to be imported to the EU through licenses until 2006, when a tariff-only system will take effect.