Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Latin American and Caribbean Studies

First Advisor's Name

Eduardo Gamarra

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

William Walker

Third Advisor's Name

Irma Alonso

Date of Defense



This thesis examines the involvement of the United States in the decade-long trade dispute before the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the European Union's preferential banana regime. Washington's justification for bringing this case to the WTO comes from Section 301 of the U.S. trade act, which allows for disputes to be undertaken if U.S. "interests" are violated; however, this is the first case ever undertaken by the United States that does not directly threaten any American banana industry, nor affect any American jobs. Why, then, would the United States involve itself in this European-Caribbean-Latin American dispute?

It is the contention of this thesis that the United States thrust itself headlong into this debate for two reasons: domestically, the United States Trade Representative came under pressure, via the White House and Congress, from Chiquita CEO Carl Lindner, who in the past decade donated more than $7.1 million to American politicians to take the case to the WTO. Internationally, the United States used the case as an opportunity to assert its power over Europe, with the Eastern Caribbean islands being caught in the economic crossfire. According to existing literature, in undertaking this case, the United States did as any nation would: it operated within both domestic and international levels, satisfying at each level key interests, with the overall goal of maintaining the nation's best interests.




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