Brussels’ pressure on Washington comes in the wake of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) November 2021 ruling that said anti-subsidy tariffs were illegal. However, the organization ruled that the separate anti-dumping tariffs could remain.
We are putting a lot of pressure on the United States to eliminate the tariffs as quickly as possible and bring its legislation into compliance with the WTO resolution.
Despite the ruling, the U.S. does not seem keen to follow the WTO’s orders, with many olive producers and their allies in California calling for the U.S. to resist the ruling.
Adrián Vázquez, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the center-right Ciudadanos party and a spokesman for the Agriculture Committee, said the commission should be forceful with the U.S. to make sure the country complied with the WTO ruling.
“The commission says that it is going to give it a reasonable time, but the sector and the families have been waiting for four years,” he said. “They have lost money, and many farms have closed. The reasonable thing is not to give extra time. They have said that they will comply on January 19, and we have to start putting pressure now.”
Echoing Vázquez, the commission said it would have no option but to take tough measures against the U.S. if there are delays in lifting the tariffs.
“We are putting a lot of pressure on the United States to eliminate the tariffs as quickly as possible and bring its legislation into compliance with the WTO resolution,” John Clarke, the director of international affairs of the Directorate-General of Agriculture, told the Agriculture Committee of the European Parliament.
Meanwhile, as the battle over removing the tariffs rages on, the Spanish Association of Table Olive Exporters and Producers (Asemesa) estimates that producers of black olives in Spain have lost more than €150 million since 2018.
Despite these losses, the commission has ruled out compensating Spanish black olive producers.
Asemesa’s secretary-general, Antonio de Mora, said that black olive farmers have suffered heavy losses. He insisted that his priority is removing the tariffs and returning to normalcy.
Initially, the E.U. feared that a favorable ruling to the U.S. would embolden Washington to challenge the entire agricultural subsidy policy under the bloc’s Common Agricultural Policy.
According to Clara Aguilera, an MEP from the center-left Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE): “It was a trade war from minute one, and the damage is done. Commercially, companies have lost position, and someone would have to compensate them.”