Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2011-02-02-Speech-3-248-000"

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"Development − Madam President, one of the provisions of international law is the principle of non-discrimination. That is very good. In theory, it cannot be faulted. The reality is slightly different. The ACP countries do not pay import duties on bananas if they export to the European Union. This is an agreement – an and this agreement changes nothing about this fact. Non-ACP countries, on the other hand, which until now paid EUR 176 per tonne, will see their import duties fall to EUR 141. Reducing import duties by EUR 35 also changes the situation with regard to competition. The ACP countries, which received greater protection until now, will receive slightly less protection in future. The Commission negotiated this agreement on behalf of the European Union. For me, as rapporteur for the opinion, the question is whether it could have acted any differently. My answer is very clear: it could not. If it had acted differently, if it had refused to enter into these negotiations, the issue would have been adjudicated by the Dispute Settlement Body of the WTO. It is fair to say that the results would have doubtless been different from those achieved during the negotiations being discussed here. Does that mean that all’s well that ends well? Certainly not. I am rapporteur for the opinion on this agreement, and I am also rapporteur on the Banana Accompanying Measures, and I will present the report tomorrow at second reading. I will make the following comments on this issue. First, the budget for the banana sector has been increased considerably. As the Commissioner has just reminded us, this is very good – I acknowledge that. This also answers a question by Mrs De Sarnez, who is very concerned about the situation that has just been created for banana producers in overseas and in the outermost regions. Second, another concern that Mrs De Sarnez and I myself have, and that is also expressed within our Committee on Development, is that the downward trend will not end with the EUR 114, because the Commission is currently negotiating other agreements which will bring the figure down to well below EUR 114. There is even talk of EUR 75. Therefore, in accordance with the principle of non-discrimination, we will also have to monitor this downward trend, which is very worrying. Third, as regards the Banana Accompanying Measures – which I will talk about in more detail tomorrow morning – I believe that Parliament has succeeded – and I thank the Commissioner for emphasising this point – in introducing some new things, in particular the impact assessment that will take place 18 months before the programme expires. That will allow us to look a bit beyond 2013 as well, because I do not believe that the problem in the banana sector will be resolved by 2013."@en1

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