Pubdate: 7 Mar 1999
Source: Associated Press
Copyright: 1999 Associated Press
Author: Bert Wilkinson Associated Press Writer


PARAMARIBO, Suriname (AP) Angered by the U.S. position in a trade dispute
over banana exports to Europe, Caribbean Community nations have agreed to
suspend a treaty of cooperation with the United States to fight drug
trafficking, an official said Sunday.

The treaty signed in Barbados by President Clinton in May 1997 calls for
cooperation by Caribbean nations in anti-drug trafficking measures and
extradition of suspects. But regional leaders have increasingly complained
that Washington has ignored its end of the bargain by failing to address
economic issues so important to the Caribbean.

Leonard Robertson, a spokesman for the 14-member Caribbean Community, known
regionally as Caricom, said the decision to suspend the treaty was seen by
the Caribbean leaders as the strongest way to send a message to Washington.

The United States filed a protest last year with the World Trade
Organization over preferences given by some European countries to former
colonies in the Caribbean. The trade preferences hurt U.S.-owned producers
with huge plantations in Central and South America, the United States

Smaller Caribbean producers say they cannot compete with the larger Latin
American plantations and need the preferences.

The dispute escalated last week as the United States announced plans to
impose punitive tariffs on targeted European goods. Caribbean nations
joined European Union claims that the sanctions by the United States are

The WTO is holding an emergency meeting Monday to discuss the spreading
trade dispute. 
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