Restructuring in the Aerospace Industry and Transatlantic Rivalry in High-Technology Sectors
As this chapter is being written, the European Union and the United States finally resolved a bitter conflict over a product neither of them produces — bananas. The US has long objected to the EU’s ‘banana regime’, which in effect discriminates against Latin American bananas grown for US-based multinational operating firms and in favour of small-scale producers in former European colonies in Africa and the Caribbean. The United States, having secured decisions in its favour at both the GATT and the WTO, lost patience with European efforts to reform the regime throughout 1998 and, by March 1999, asked European exporters to post bonds with the US customs services. In the event, a WTO arbitration panel allowed the US to levy punitive duties. That bananas should drive the transatlantic partners closer to trade war than they have been in recent years, will strike many as absurd. It shouldn’t, really, as observers of American — European trade relations can reel off a catalogue of disputes — of varying severity — in the area of agriculture: the chicken war and pasta dispute for example. The European Union’s continued ban on US exports of hormone-treated beef has also brought the parties to the WTO.
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