European citizens are major banana consumers, making the European Union (EU) the world’s biggest importer of bananas. In 2021 the total supply of bananas in the EU amounted to around 5.8 million tonnes with around 74% of the supply coming from Latin America, 15% from African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and 11% from EU's own production.
EU banana producers
The European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) supports the banana sector through the POSEI scheme providing for specific measures for agriculture in the outermost regions of the Union.
Moreover, the sector can benefit from Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).
Banana imports to the European Union
Since 1 January 2006, the European Union has applied an import regime on bananas based on customs (known as a "tariff-only" regime) as per the EU tariffs – market access database. Many countries around the world rely heavily on banana production and exports to boost their economies, and the EU’s import regime is designed to ensure market access for these developing countries at the same time as supporting European banana producers, in order to satisfy EU demand for bananas.
In addition, the EU has concluded specific agreements with various Latin American countries, the USA and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries to provide fair and balanced access to the EU banana market.
The 2009 Geneva agreement on trade in bananas
This agreement is between the EU and certain Latin American countries to grant "most favoured nation" status. It also covers the United States. Under the terms of this agreement, the EU committed to gradually cutting import tariffs on bananas from these countries from €176/t to €114 /t, by 2019 at the latest.
Free trade agreements
Since 2009, most of the major banana producers in Latin American have also signed free trade agreements with the EU: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama (as part of the EU-Central America Association Agreement) as well as, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador (as part of the EU-Andean Community Trade Agreement). These agreements provided for a gradual reduction of the import duty for bananas from these countries to reach € 75/t by 1 January 2020. A specific Banana Stabilisation Mechanism (BSM) was introduced, which expired on 31 December 2019.
Economic partnership agreements with ACP countries
A range of economic partnership agreements grant African, Caribbean and Pacific banana suppliers duty- and quota-free access to the European Union market.
The European Commission supervises closely the developments on the banana market, by monitoring EU production, imports levels and prices and publishes a banana market report, which is updated three times a year.