The protracted "banana wars" between the US and EU have come to an end, saving the Scottish cashmere industry from crippling import duties.

At a meeting this week the EU said it would stop giving preferential treatment to banana imports from former colonies, a policy that had caused the US to retaliate by imposing high import duties.

Under World Trade Organisation rules, the US can impose 100 per cent duties on a range of European products to retaliate for losses sustained because of the European banana import regime.

This favours former European colonies and not the South American plantations owned by American companies.

The US had drawn up the trade retaliation list to try and persuade the European Union to settle the row over banana and beef imports.

Scotland Office Minister Brian Wilson described the EU offer as a "turning-point" in the dispute.

The move follows a delegation to Europe led by two Borders MPs in a bid to bring to an end the trade dispute.

Michael Moore and Archy Kirkwood were joined by representatives from the cashmere industry and the local enterprise company, the Scotsman reported today.