INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Times Staff and Wire Reports

Costa Rica, Colombia Avoid U.S. Sanctions: U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor announced that after a year of talks, Costa Rica and Colombia have signed agreements pledging to cooperate in trying to get the 15-nation European Union to scrap trade barriers involving bananas. Those barriers have been attacked by U.S. banana-exporting companies, most notably Chiquita Brands International, which contend the European restrictions are costing hundreds of millions of dollars in lost sales for U.S. companies. Kantor appeared to have left the door open for sanctions if negotiations in coming months fail to produce a favorable result. The trade fight concerns a decision by the Europeans in July 1993 to impose import restrictions on bananas in the lucrative European market from all countries, with the exception of 70 former European colonies and protectorates.

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