In a letter sent by Reyes Maroto, the minister of industry, trade and tourism, to Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis, Maroto called for a “balanced and mutually beneficial solution” to the trade dispute.
Resolving our disputes would send a message of confidence to the private sector, which asks that a negotiated solution be sought between the two parties.
“Restoring mutual trust is undoubtedly one of the key objectives of our future trade policy,” Maroto wrote. “We need to identify the main areas for immediate action and build on mutual needs and shared common goals in our respective external trade and economic policies.”
“Resolving our disputes would send a message of confidence to the private sector, which asks that a negotiated solution be sought between the two parties,” she added.See Also: Spanish Table Olive Exports to U.S. Fall Further
The announcement comes days after the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) said it would not remove any of the tariffs imposed on a range of imports from the European Union back in October 2019.
“In light of the recent revision, the U.S. Trade Representative has agreed with the affected U.S. industry that it is unnecessary at this time to revise the action,” said William Busis, the deputy assistant USTR for monitoring and enforcement.
“The U.S. Trade Representative will continue to consider the action taken in this investigation,” he added.
The tariffs came as the result of a ruling by the World Trade Organization, which found that four European Union countries, including Spain, had illegally subsidized the aircraft manufacturer Airbus, giving it an unfair advantage over its American rival Boeing.
As a result, a 25-percent tariff was imposed on imports of packaged Spanish virgin and non-virgin olive oils and pitted and un-pitted green olives from Spain and France.
According to Spanish producer associations, the tariffs continue to threaten Spain’s position as the number one source of U.S. olive oil imports.
The Association of Young Farmers (Asaja) said that bottled Spanish olive oil exports to the U.S. fell by 81 percent in 2020, compared with 2019.
Asaja added that U.S. olive oil imports had grown by nearly 20 percent in the same period and called the development a “new failure of European-Spanish diplomacy.”
The overall impact of the tariffs on Spanish olive oil imports to the U.S. remains to be seen as bulk olive oil was not included on the tariff list.
In August, Asaja reported that Spanish olive oil exports to the U.S. fell by 39 percent in the first half of 2020. However, data to compare all of 2020 with 2019 remain unavailable.
Despite low trade figures with the U.S., the International Olive Council’s latest data show that Spain will export a record-high 431,500 tons of olive oil to non-European Union countries in the 2020/21 crop year.