The Agriculture Committee rejected an automatic change-over to a tariff-only system for banana imports, preferring to maintain the current quota system for at least another ten years. The Committee fears that the flat-rate tariff system proposed by the Commission in order to bring the EU's banana regime into line with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, would bankrupt producers in the Community's outlying regions and in ACP states. The market would be flooded and prices would crash, according to MEPs. The Committee also rejected the reverse auction system for managing quotas on the basis of the order in which customs declarations are submitted rather that distribution of licences according to historical considerations. The European Commission was forced in April 1999 to modify the Community banana regime, following a decision by the WTO condemning as discriminatory the regime in place and ordering the EU to reform arrangements by January 1, 2000. Concurrently, the United States was authorised to retaliate with trade measures costing the EU up to Euro 199 million.Squaring the circle.Rapporteur Michel Dary acknowledged the Commission's difficulties in trying to square the circle between the divergent interests of the 15 EU Member...

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