April 11,2001

Grassley Comment on the Banana Dispute Resolution

Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Committee on Finance, today made the followingcomment on the resolution of the banana dispute.

“It’s very good news that the United States and the European Union have agreed to settle thebanana dispute. Ambassador Zoellick’s persistence has paid off.

“This breakthrough ends a lingering trade dispute that complicated one of our most importantbilateral relationships and undermined confidence in the World Trade Organization’s ability toeffectively resolve disputes between member countries. The WTO’s capacity to provide anequitable, expeditious and mutually acceptable means of settling trade disputes is the central pillarof the multilateral trading system. Today’s agreement removes a major impediment to the effectivefunctioning of this system.

“In recent weeks, I personally urged both the European Union trade commissioner and theU.S. trade representative to find a way to resolve the banana dispute. With Commissioner Lamy,I emphad how important it is for both the EU and the United States to rebuild confidence in ourability to work together. The agreement reached this morning will help do just that. I hope the samesort of practical approach can be used to settle other trade disputes.

“The most important, immediate consequence of today’s settlement may be a fresh impetusto launch a new round of multilateral trade negotiations this November at the WTO ministerialconference in Qatar. We still have a lot of work to do, but the prospects for starting a new round ofglobal trade talks this year are better than they have been since the collapse of the Seattle WTOministerial. I hope we can build on today’s achievement in the days and weeks ahead.”