Spain Urges Talks on U.S. Tariffs

The move comes as the U.S. Trade Representative announced that it would not revise any of the tariffs currently in place on European imports.
Reyes Maroto. Photo: Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism
Feb. 16, 2021
David Uwakwe

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The Spanish gov­ern­ment has con­tacted the European Commission urg­ing it to open talks with the United States about sus­pend­ing import tar­iffs on Spanish olive oil and table olives.

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.- Reyes Maroto, Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism

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.





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