MORRIS: Is the U.S. Becoming a Banana Republic?
Background: Historically, banana trade has been dominated by a fistful of U.S. companies. The most notorious was United Fruit. According to the 1992 edition of Hoover's Handbook of American Business "the term 'banana republic' originates from United Fruit's involvement in establishing Central American regimes friendly to its operations". In 1954 United Fruit controlled 85 percent of all tropical banana production. United Fruit, now known Chiquita Brands International, remains the world's largest banana company. And it is on behalf of Chiquita that the U.S. recently asked the World Trade Organization(WTO) to reject Europe's system of giving preferential access to bananas from its former colonies in the Caribbean, Asia and Africa. Even free traders wonder about this U.S. action.