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European Union 'Regrets' WTO Complaint Over Banana Tariff

The European Union says it regrets that five Latin American countries have called on the World Trade Organization to arbitrate in an EU banana tariff dispute.

That EU response comes one day after Ecuador, Costa Rica, Colombia, Panama and Guatemala filed their request.

Earlier this year, the European Union announced that it plans to impose a blanket $300 per ton levy on banana imports to replace its import quota system in January 2006. However, Latin American states want the rate to stay at the current $75.

The French news agency quotes the union as saying it will defend its proposal and that it remains open for what it called constructive engagement with WTO members.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.