Controversy in Banana Industry

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Banana Wars
The banana industry has long been the center of controversy. In some instances, the banana has been the necessary means for countries to become economically and politically powerful; however, in other instances it has been a hindrance leading to complete dependency and the decline in other industries. Since the banana has turned into a leading crop for a number of countries, the struggle to control production and distribution is at an all-time rise, thus creating the “banana wars.” Although bananas may only look like a fruit, they represent a wide variety of environmental, economic, social, and political problems. The banana trade symbolizes economic imperialism, injustices in the global trade market, and the globalization of the agricultural economy. Bananas are also number four on the list of staple crops in the world and one of the biggest profit makers in supermarkets, making them critical for economic and global food security. As one of the first tropical fruits to be exported, bananas were a cheap way to bring ‘the tropics’ to North America and Europe. Bananas have become such a common, inexpensive grocery item that we often forget where they come from and how they got here. (Cohen) Starting in the 1990s, the United States and the European Union (EU) began disputing over the standards and regulations in the exportation of bananas to markets. Some core issues underlying this argument include tariffs, free trade, determining which countries have the authority to export to certain markets, and the strenuous impact the banana trade has on the workers and environment. Although the World Trade Organization (WTO) has made great progress in recognizing political, economic, social, and environmental issues caused by the banana trade, it has neglected to strictly enforce regulations previously set forth. Politically, the United States and the EU endorse views from different ends of the spectrum. The United States favors low tariffs, low...
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