THE European commission has slammed the new high tariffs imposed on Spanish olives by the US as ‘simply unacceptable’.
It comes as the US Department of Commerce announced that tariffs ranging from 7.52% to 27.02% would be needed to counteract Spanish olive prices, arguing that the fruits were being sold for 16.88% to 25.5% less than their real value.
However, the EU commission argued that it is already having a major negative effect on Olive producers in Andalucia, in a region where olive production ‘has a very significant economic and social impact’.
In 2017 exports from Spain to the US were worth £50.3 million (around €43 million).
According to Spain’s association of olive producers and exporters (Asemesa), exports of black olives to the US fell by 42.4% in the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period in 2017, dropping from 6.9m kilos to 4m kilos.
A spokesperson for the EU commission said:“The decision by the US Department of Commerce to impose unreasonably high and prohibitive anti-subsidy and anti-dumping duties on Spanish olives is simply unacceptable.
“This is a protectionist measure targeting a high-quality and successful EU product popular with US consumers.”
Luis Planas, Spain’s agriculture minister, said the tariffs were unfair announced he would be raising his concerns at an EU agriculture meeting in Luxembourg next week.
The final US decision on the imposition of the tariffs is expected to be made on 24 July.