The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has modified its $7.5‑billion list of agricultural and industrial goods targeted by tariffs, which include olive oil from Spain and table olives from France and Spain.
While some tariffs imposed on the United Kingdom and Greece have been removed by the USTR, a similar amount of tariffs were added to other products from Germany and France.
It is a sweet and sour feeling, the tariffs being confirmed, but we will still work for their removal and for a consensual negotiation to end this trade conflict.
The USTR also announced that agricultural exports from the 27-member trading bloc would continue to face a 25 percent tariff. Olive oil and table olive exports from the rest of the E.U. to the U.S. will remain unaffected.
The decision comes as a relief for some in the agricultural sector, who feared that existing tariffs may increase after the USTR said it would revise the list in June.See Also: Olive Oil Trade
However, authorities in Spain bemoaned the decision not to eliminate the duties faced by agricultural goods and said it would have a “devastating” impact on the economy.
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Reyes Maroto, Spain’s Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, responded to the announcement by calling on the Spanish government to continue putting pressure on Brussels to negotiate.
“It is a sweet and sour feeling, the tariffs being confirmed, but we will still work for their removal and for a consensual negotiation to end this trade conflict,” she said.
Her sentiments were echoed by Luis Planas, Spain’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, who emphasized that the country’s agri-food sector was bearing the brunt of a “conflict in no way related to its own activities” and added that “it is a strategic mistake to include food in retaliatory trade actions.”
In 2019, Spain exported $2.1‑billion worth of products to the United States. Overall, the U.S. is the third largest market for Spanish goods outside of E.U. and China.
On the other hand, the E.U. has expressed some mild satisfaction regarding the USTR decision, with a spokesperson telling the press that the U.S. did not “exacerbate the ongoing aircraft dispute by increasing tariffs on European products.”
Still, an agreement on the matter between the two sides does not look like it is coming anytime soon.
“[The] E.U. and member states have not taken the actions necessary to come into compliance with World Trade Organization decisions,” Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. Trade Representative, said. “The United States, however, is committed to obtaining a long-term resolution to this dispute.”
The E.U. has denied this and said they are in compliance with the WTO’s ruling, which found the trading bloc had illegally subsided European aircraft manufacturer, Airbus.
Negotiations between the two are unlikely to begin until the WTO has ruled on a similar case regarding American aircraft manufacturer, Boeing, which should take place by the end of the summer.
Observers widely expect the WTO to rule in favor of the E.U. and award the trading bloc the right to impose tariffs on U.S. exports. Once the WTO decision is announced, then negotiators are more likely to be able to hammer out a deal.