French international firm Gide Loyrette Nouel has been picked as legal counsel for the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.

Gide’s principal role will be to act for the ACP countries in arbitration initiated by Latin American countries over the supply of bananas to Europe.

The firm will provide legal assistance to ensure that banana-supplying ACP countries will be represented on issues that have a major economic impact on them.

Brussels partner Olivier Prost, who specialises in World Trade Organisation (WTO) law, will be the ACP relationship partner.

Gide advised the ACP countries in a dispute over sugar, which concluded in the WTO’s appellate body on 29 April this year. It also provided legal support to the governments of Cameroon and the Ivory Coast in a banana dispute during 1998 and 1999.

There are more than 70 ACP countries, ranging from small islands such as Tuvalu to large African states such as South Africa.