Spain, E.U. React to U.S. Tariffs on Spanish Olives

"All possible options" are on the table as the European Commission decides how to react to US tariffs. In Andalusia, members of the provincial government have already set out to lobby Brussels and Madrid for action.

Luis Planas, Minister of Agriculture and Environment
Jul. 13, 2018
By Daniel Dawson
Luis Planas, Minister of Agriculture and Environment

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The United States Inter­na­tional Trade Com­mis­sion (USITC) has approved new tar­iffs on Span­ish olives by a vote of three to one.

The deci­sion by the U.S. Depart­ment of Com­merce to impose unrea­son­ably high and pro­hib­i­tive anti-sub­sidy and anti-dump­ing duties on Span­ish olives is sim­ply unac­cept­able.- Euro­pean Com­mis­sion

Cus­toms author­i­ties will now begin col­lect­ing new tar­iffs approved by the U.S. Depart­ment of Com­merce on the olives rang­ing from 7.52 per­cent all the way to 27.02 per­cent.

The USITC today deter­mined that a U.S. indus­try is mate­ri­ally injured by rea­son of imports of ripe olives from Spain that the U.S. Depart­ment of Com­merce has deter­mined are sub­si­dized and sold in the United States at less than fair value,” a depart­ment spokes­woman said about the deci­sion.

As a result of the USITC’s affir­ma­tive deter­mi­na­tions, Com­merce will issue antidump­ing and coun­ter­vail­ing duty orders on imports of this prod­uct from Spain,” she added.

The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion has said in a state­ment that it will wait to see the exact word­ing of the tar­iffs, which will be released on July 24, but that all pos­si­ble options” are on the table, in terms of a response.


The Com­mis­sion deplores this US approach and in par­tic­u­lar the way in which the inves­ti­ga­tion was con­ducted,” a Euro­pean Com­mis­sion spokesper­son said. These pro­tec­tion­ist mea­sures are not jus­ti­fied, nei­ther on process nor on sub­stance.”

The deci­sion by the U.S. Depart­ment of Com­merce to impose unrea­son­ably high and pro­hib­i­tive anti-sub­sidy and anti-dump­ing duties on Span­ish olives is sim­ply unac­cept­able,” the spokesper­son added. This is a pro­tec­tion­ist mea­sure tar­get­ing a high-qual­ity and suc­cess­ful EU prod­uct pop­u­lar with US con­sumers.”

The imple­men­ta­tion of the tar­iffs stems from an anti-dump­ing com­plaint lodged by two com­pa­nies in Cal­i­for­nia last year. This was com­pounded by an anti-sub­sidy charge by the Com­merce Depart­ment.

Accord­ing to data from the Span­ish Asso­ci­a­tion of Exporters and Indus­tri­al­ists of Table Olives (ASEMA), black olive exports to the US have already fallen by more than 42 per­cent in the first quar­ter of 2018 com­pared with the same period in 2017.

Luis Planas, Spain’s Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture, said he plans to bring up the tar­iffs at a Euro­pean Union agri­cul­tural meet­ing sched­uled for next week in Lux­em­bourg.

José Muñoz, a PSOE (Span­ish Social­ist Work­ers’ Party) Deputy in the Andalu­sian Par­lia­ment, has already taken action, propos­ing an ini­tia­tive demand­ing Euro­pean Union inter­ven­tion on behalf of Span­ish olive farm­ers.

The PSOE in Andalu­sia presents in the Andalu­sian Par­lia­ment an ini­tia­tive that demands of the Euro­pean Union a force­ful com­mer­cial answer against the tar­iffs on our table olives,” he said on Twit­ter.

The Andalu­sian Par­lia­ment is meet­ing today to dis­cuss the ini­tia­tive and the impli­ca­tions of the tar­iffs on the region’s econ­omy. How­ever, it is unclear what exactly the provin­cial gov­ern­ment can do other than peti­tion Brus­sels to act.

Mean­while, Rodrigo Sánchez Haro, the Andalu­sian Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture, Fish­eries and Rural Devel­op­ment has gone to Madrid to peti­tion the national gov­ern­ment to act.

Today in Madrid we have met with the Luis Planas, to con­tinue work­ing together in defense of the table olive sec­tor before the unfair and unjus­ti­fied tar­iffs defin­i­tively estab­lished by the US,” he said.

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