The USA will continue to impose a 25% tariff on agricultural exports from the EU, including packaged olive oils from Spain, following a review by the United States Trade Representative (USTR), Olive Oil Times reported on 18 August.
The European Commission (EC) had called on the USA to lift the tariffs it had imposed last October, saying that the governments of Germany, France and Spain had fully complied with the requirements of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which had ruled that the three countries had provided illegal subsidies to aircraft manufacturer Airbus.
The USTR had reviewed its US$7.5bn list of agricultural and industrial goods subject to tariffs and while it had removed some tariffs imposed on the UK and Greece, others had been added to products from Germany and France, Olive Oil Times said.
Agricultural exports from the EU would also continue to face a 25% tariff but olive oil and table olive exports from the rest of the EU to the USA would remain unaffected, the USTR said.
The decision had been a relief for some in the agricultural sector as they had feared that existing tariffs could be increased after the USTR had said it would revise the list in June, Olive Oil Times said.
However, authorities in Spain had complained about the decision not to eliminate the duties saying it would have a "devastating" impact on the economy.
Spain’s Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism Reyes Maroto had called on the Spanish government to continue to put 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,” he was quoted as saying.
The EC had asserted that the US tariffs were groundless since Germany, France and Spain had agreed to modify their terms of financing for Airbus, according to WTO recommendations over the 16-year dispute with the USA.