Five Latin American countries have called on the World Trade Organization to arbitrate their banana dispute with the European Union.

Ecuador, Costa Rica, Colombia, Panama and Guatemala filed the request.

Earlier this year, the European Union announced that it plans to impose a blanket $300 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.

African, Caribbean and Pacific countries believe the EU proposed rate should be higher.

The Latin American states are trying to avoid a repeat of the so-called "banana wars" that took place in the 1990s. That dispute ended after the WTO ruled that EU banana import rules were discriminatory against Latin American growers.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.