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, We Want No Bananas

The European Union will not open its banana market to American producers at this time, but will continue negotiations with the United States on the matter, an EU spokesman said Monday.

EU Foreign Trade Commissioner Sir Leon Brittan and Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler told U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor Monday they cannot meet U.S. demands to open up the EU’s banana market.

They said that EU’s banana import regime is already a tricky balancing act between opposing camps within the EU’s 15 member nations, and that renegotiating the policy would risk its collapse.

“It’s out of the question that we modify the regime,” said EU spokesman Peter Guilford.

In January, Kantor threatened $1 billion of trade sanctions if the matter were not resolved. So far, EU officials say, they have no word on the date or the form of such sanctions.

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