The United States Trade Representative (USTR) is holding a public hearing (www.federalregister.gov…) on May 15 in Washington to seek comments on their list of $11 billion of proposed tariffs on European Union imports, which includes olive oil.
Joseph R Profaci, the executive director of the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA), told Olive Oil Times that he has already requested to give public testimony at the hearing. May 6 is the last day to submit requests to testify.
The NAOOA is also circulating a petition to get olive oil removed from the list of proposed tariffs. The petition has received 250 signatures in the first 10 days and Profaci said he expects that number to increase significantly as the trade group continues to raise awareness of the issue.
The United States consumed 315,000 tons of olive oil last year, of which about 200,000 tons were imported from the European Union.
“If olive oil ends up on the final list despite our efforts, there is no telling what the tariff would be, or how much prices might rise,” Profaci said.
The USTR guidelines suggest that tariffs could be anywhere from $0.034 per kilogram to $0.176 per kilogram. However, this will be determined by a World Trade Organization ruling, which will be handed down later this year.