A Haitian girl carries bananas on her head.
A Haitian girl carries bananas on her head. - 
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Doug Krizner: The European Union is facing a year-end deadline on some key trade deals. Agreements with nearly 80 of its former colonies are being negotiated. As it does, so, the E.U. is playing poor countries off one another. From the Americas Desk at WLRN, Marketplace's Dan Grech reports.

Dan Grech: The European Union charges a duty of $257 for a ton of bananas from Latin America. Meanwhile, bananas from 76 former colonies in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific can enter the E.U. duty-free.

But those preferential trade rules expire December 31, and the E.U. is insisting its former colonies sign new, less favorable agreements before that deadline, or face sharply higher duties.

Stephanie Burgos is with Oxfam America:

Stephanie Burgos: The "take it or leave it" line is quite the familiar refrain I think in trade negotiations with poor countries.

Latin America's big banana producers are eager for a level playing field in Europe. And the E.U. is using that threat to pressure its former colonies into signing a new agreement.

Burgos: This is pitting one poor country against another, which we think is entirely unfair.

Burgos says the former European colonies need more time for negotiations.

I'm Dan Grech for Marketplace.