Business

US Tariffs on Italian Olive Oil Will Not Rise, for Now

Italians applaud the decision while U.S. trade officials warn that a future review could involve products that were not included this time.

Feb. 16, 2020
By Paolo DeAndreis

High-qual­ity olive oil, as well as wine and sev­eral other typ­i­cal and renowned prod­ucts of Ital­ian agri­cul­ture can be imported in the U.S. with no new tar­iffs applied by the United States Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive (USTR).

We pressed to keep the agri­cul­tural Ital­ian excel­lence out of the Air­bus affair and our con­cern was met with thought­ful under­stand­ing.- Teresa Bel­lanova, Ital­ian Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­tural Affairs

The most rel­e­vant prod­ucts of the Ital­ian agri­cul­ture indus­try will not be sub­jected to new tar­iffs imposed by the U.S. Gov­ern­ment on Euro­pean prod­ucts after the WTO deci­sion on the Boe­ing-Air­bus con­tro­versy,” the Ital­ian min­is­ter of for­eign affairs, Luigi Di Maio, con­firmed just a few hours ago after the lat­est round of nego­ti­a­tions between Wash­ing­ton and Rome.

See more: Lat­est News on Tar­iffs

No vari­a­tions will be imposed in a tar­iff sys­tem that in the last few months already hit most Euro­pean exports. While sev­eral typ­i­cal cheeses pro­duced and exported by Italy will still be sub­jected to those tar­iffs, twenty-five per­cent ad val­orem, Ital­ian olive oil, wine and pasta for at least the next few months will not.

The USTR is expected to look every few months at the tar­iffs imposed last Octo­ber, so the Feb­ru­ary review had been at the cen­ter of many nego­ti­a­tion tables amid con­cerns by sev­eral Euro­pean coun­tries that they would be affected.

In this lat­est USTR note, the Rep­re­sen­ta­tive explained that the United States is increas­ing the addi­tional duty rate imposed on air­craft imported from the E.U. to 15 per­cent from 10 per­cent, effec­tive March 18, 2020, and mak­ing cer­tain other minor mod­i­fi­ca­tions.” Those mod­i­fi­ca­tions are lim­ited to the lift­ing of tar­iffs on Euro­pean prune juice and impos­ing new tar­iffs on some French and Ger­man kitchen knives.

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While U.S. trade offi­cials warn that a future deci­sion on tar­iffs could involve prod­ucts that were not included in this last review, Ital­ians appear con­fi­dent their most rel­e­vant agri­cul­tural prod­ucts will con­tinue to be spared.

In the many meet­ings we had with our Amer­i­can coun­ter­parts in the last few months,” said the Ital­ian agri­cul­ture under­sec­re­tary Ivan Scal­farotto, we had the chance to out­line that Italy has no part in the Air­bus con­sor­tium which is at the core of the WTO deci­sion and that there­fore our prod­ucts should not be con­sid­ered by Wash­ing­ton for the tar­iffs retal­i­a­tion that the WTO deci­sion made legal.”

USTR will review the actual tar­iff scheme next August. Our most rel­e­vant agri­cul­tural prod­ucts will not undergo irrecov­er­able dam­age,” said the Ital­ian Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­tural Affairs Teresa Bel­lanova. In the meet­ing, we had with the Amer­i­can sec­re­tary of Agri­cul­ture Sonny Per­due last Jan­u­ary 30th in Rome, we pressed to keep the agri­cul­tural Ital­ian excel­lence out of the Air­bus affair and our con­cern was met with thought­ful under­stand­ing.”


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