V.I. Delegate to Congress Donna Christian-Christensen, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) and other members of Congress met Thursday with U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky to discuss solutions to the Caribbean banana controversy.
"I am very encouraged, to see how far USTR has come," Christensen said. "We were all encouraged by Ambassador Barshefsky's repeated statements of support for preferences for Caribbean bananas in the European market, and their intention to pursue its continuance as they seek to resolve the broader areas of dispute with the European Union (EU)."
The V.I. Delegate has cosponsored a bill with Waters to prevent retaliation against the European Union for protecting Caribbean banana growers and has pledged her commitment to work with the CBC to find a solution that will benefit the Caribbean region.
"On the issue of the Lome Convention and its expiration in 2003, we were also reassured in that she also voiced strong support for any effort to continue preferences if that was a part of the re-negotiated agreement," Christensen said.
Christensen Waters and Rangel will continue to be involved in negotiations between the USTR and EU on behalf of and with representatives of the involved Caribbean countries.