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Friday, April 9, 1999 Published at 19:28 GMT 20:28 UK


Business: The Economy

Scottish cashmere jobs saved

Cashmere has become a casualty of the banana war

The cashmere industry in the Scottish borders is celebrating a US decision to remove its products from a list of targeted goods in the so-called "bananas war".


The BBC's Jonty Bloom: An easing of the trade dispute
America was threatening to slap huge tariffs on cashmere which would have made it uncompetitive in the lucrative US market and put thousands of Scottish jobs in jeopardy as a result.

A range of other European products had also been singled out for the same treatment.


BBC Scotland's Peter Strachan: The US has agreed to strike cashmere from its blacklist
But at the 11th hour Scottish cashmere and Italian Pecorino cheese were spared from the list.

Managing Director of Scottish cashmere firm Clan Douglas, Columba Reid, said: "I am glad that everyone has finally come to their senses."

'Tremendous news

Scottish Secretary Donald Dewar welcomed the decision.


[ image: Thousands of people are employed by the industry]
Thousands of people are employed by the industry
He said: "This is tremendous news for Scotland in general and the cashmere producers in the borders in particular.

"It is a major boost - not just for the producers, but for retailers as well. In total 2.000 Scottish jobs depend on the industry.

"We worked long and hard for this result. I visited the States personally and held meetings with President Clinton and his most senior ministers."


[ image: The cashmere industry is vital for Scotland]
The cashmere industry is vital for Scotland
The move follows an announcement earlier this week by the EU that it would abide by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) decision that it should end higher tariffs on so-called "dollar bananas" from Latin America.

The US has issued a final target list designed to bring in tariffs of $191.4m on European imports ranging from French handbags to German coffee-makers.

The US has complained that the European Union (EU) is penalising Latin American banana producers by favouring Caribbean companies.

However, the EU still has the option of an appeal to the WTO.

Caribbean producers have warned that the WTO's decision could inflict lasting damage on their fragile economies.





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European Union

Caribbean Bananas Exporters Association


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