`WTO Delays Judgement on Spanish Black Olive Tariffs for Third Time - Olive Oil Times

WTO Delays Judgement on Spanish Black Olive Tariffs for Third Time

Sep 23, 2021 9:51 AM EDT
Daniel Dawson

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The World Trade Organization (WTO) will not rule on whether to allow a 35-per­cent tar­iff on Spanish black table olive imports to the United States until November 3, 2021.

Initially, the WTO was sup­posed to decide whether the anti-dump­ing tar­iffs imposed on Spanish pro­duc­ers by the U.S. Commerce Department had merit in June.

However, delays caused by the Covid-19 pan­demic forced the dis­pute set­tle­ment panel, which was formed by the WTO to mit­i­gate the con­flict, to delay until August 19.

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The day before this dead­line, the European Union and the U.S. told the panel they were still dis­cussing the res­o­lu­tion to the dis­pute and asked to delay its deci­sion until September 16. The panel obliged.

On September 16, the E.U. and U.S. once again told the panel they were still dis­cussing a res­o­lu­tion and asked for an exten­sion until November 3, which the panel also said it would allow.

Cognisant of the aim of the dis­pute set­tle­ment mech­a­nism to secure a pos­i­tive solu­tion to a dis­pute, and of the require­ment that Members engage in the dis­pute set­tle­ment pro­ce­dures in good faith in an effort to resolve the dis­pute, the Panel agreed to the par­ties’ requests,” the WTO panel wrote.

The dis­pute set­tle­ment panel’s deci­sion will be made pub­lic after it has been cir­cu­lated to all mem­bers of the WTO, which may be after November 3.

The dis­pute between the E.U. and U.S. stems from anti-dump­ing com­plaints lodged by the California-based table olive pro­duc­ers, Bell-Carter Foods and Musco Family Olive Company. These came into force after the U.S. International Trade Commission approved them in July 2018.

Since then, black table olive pro­duc­ers in Spain have accu­mu­lated export losses of €150 mil­lion.

Responding to the losses, the Spanish Association of Table Olive Exporters and Producers (Asemesa) once again asked the E.U. and Spanish gov­ern­ment to nego­ti­ate directly with the U.S.

Regardless of when it arrives, the WTO rul­ing will come in the con­text of a pre­vi­ous deci­sion reached by the U.S. Court of International Trade, which ruled that the argu­ments used by the Commerce Department as the basis of the tar­iff are not in accor­dance with law.” However, the depart­ment was allowed to sub­mit new evi­dence within 90 days.

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