U.S./EU Trade Dispute Reveals A Split Beyond Bananas

The current banana trade war between the U.S. and the 15-nation European Union (EU) could do substantial long-term damage. Besides souring relations between the U.S. and its European trading partners, the dispute threatens to hurt the World Trade Organization (WTO), which both the U.S. and the EU worked to establish. Despite the current bluster and brinkmanship, the banana dispute, which centers on the amount and origin of bananas the EU will accept, could be over relatively soon. But this fundamental matter would remain unresolved and could lead to future disputes: deep social and cultural differences between the U.S. and Europe. At least one European observer believes there needs to be better consultation on both sides before public rows break out, and involvement by the U.S. President and the European heads of state and government to achieve swift, responsible compromises before disputes escalate to the level this one has.

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