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EU Welcomes End of US Sanctions

July 2, 2001

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ The European Union on Monday welcomed the lifting of sanctions imposed on European goods in a dispute over bananas, saying the amicable resolution of the dispute boded well for future trade talks.

``We solved this problem, and we showed that we can work together to manage trade disputes in a business-like manner,″ said EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy.

``This is a very good signal at a time when we are working together on launching a new round of global trade negotiations.″

The U.S. government Sunday formally lifted sanctions imposed in 1999 on $191 million worth of French handbags, British bed linens and other European products in retaliation for EU restrictions on banana imports.

The action ended 100 percent tariffs which effectively barred targeted European goods from the U.S. market. It followed an April 11 deal under which the EU agreed to dismantle trade barriers American banana companies found objectionable.

``This is great news for European exporters. A whole cluster of products that had attracted prohibitive duties will once more be available to American consumers at normal prices,″ Lamy said in a statement.

Those products included Body Shop bath preparations, Gucci handbags and Louis Vuitton wallets, felt paper and paperboard, paperboard boxes, lithographs, bed linens, batteries and coffee makers.

Officials on both sides of the Atlantic hope the success in resolving the banana dispute set the stage for compromise on a much larger dispute over U.S tax breaks to exporters which could potentially see the EU imposing sanctions of up to $4 billion on American goods.

The United States still imposes sanctions on $116.8 million worth of European goods in retaliation for an EU ban on American beef produced with growth hormones.

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On the Net:

U.S. Trade Representative: http://www.ustr.gov/

European Union: http://europa.eu.int

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