The United States Court of International Trade has issued a ruling, declaring some of the interpretations of the Tariff Act made by the American Commerce Department to be arbitrary, and laying the ground for lifting or reducing duties on Spanish table olives.
Duties of around 35 percent were imposed by the American Department of Commerce on imported Spanish black olives back in 2018, based on the reasoning that they were receiving unfair subsidies and were sold at unjustifiably low prices in the American market.
The European Union had taken legal action at the World Trade Organization against the U.S. tariff regime, which led to the court’s ruling.
The court toppled the Department’s rationale by determining that the subsidies the Spanish olives were receiving were not specific, and the production of olives was shaped by the weather conditions and not the market demand.
“The ruling is a very important endorsement of the EU’s legal action at the WTO,” the Spanish association of olive exporters (ASEMESA) said, looking to a reduction of the imposed tariffs to 20 percent from the 35 percent currently imposed.
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Spanish olive producers said that their exports to the American market were reduced by 50 percent since the tariffs were introduced almost two years ago.
The U.S. Commerce Department can present arguments to the Court of International Trade to support the duties scheme within 90 days from the court’s ruling.