Politicians from across the political spectrum in Spain are calling on the United States to drop its 35-percent tariff on black table olive imports.
The appeals for a reset in trading relations between the two come as the White House is planning President Joe Biden’s first trip to Europe in June.
The tariff on black table olives had a specific impact on companies and cooperatives in Seville, which had been exporting to the U.S. for more than 40 years.
After attending the G‑7 meeting with the leaders of seven of the world’s largest economies, Biden will travel from the U.K. to Brussels to meet with European Union officials.
Among the topics expected to be discussed are tariffs imposed by Biden’s predecessor on a range of agricultural and manufacturing imports from the E.U., including packaged olive oil and some green table olives.See Also: Trade News
Both sides agreed to freeze tariffs for four months in March. Shortly after Biden departs from Brussels, the U.S. Trade Representative and European Commission will need to decide whether to reinstate tariffs or extend the moratorium.
While the tariffs on black olives stem from a separate trade dispute, Spanish table olive producers and politicians see the meeting as the time to eliminate the tariffs.
According to the Spanish Association of Table Olive Exporters and Producers (Asemesa), black table olive exports to the U.S. have fallen by 68 percent since the tariffs were imposed back in 2017.
As a result of both sets of tariffs, the entire table olive sector has lost an estimated €135 million in the past 3.5 years.
“The tariff on black table olives had a specific impact on companies and cooperatives in Seville, which had been exporting to the U.S. for more than 40 years,” Clara Aguilera, a center-left Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Granada, said at a recent event.
Also speaking at the event, Juan Ignacio Zoido, a center-right MEP from Seville, called the tariffs “unfair and abusive.” He added that the conflict “is not positive for anyone” and has harmed consumers and producers “on both sides of the Atlantic.”
The meeting between Biden and E.U. officials is also expected to come days before the World Trade Organization issues its final report on whether the legal basis for U.S. tariffs violates WTO policies.
Despite the lobbying from Spanish politicians, how the WTO rules on the case will ultimately determine whether or not black olive producers will receive any reprieve from the tariffs.