Spanish politicians call on Biden to drop tariffs on black olives ahead of EU summit
Politicians from all walks of life in Spain are calling on the United States to lower its tariffs by 35% on imports of black table olives.
Calls for a reset in trade relations between the two come as the White House plans President Joe Biden’s first trip to Europe in June.
The tariff on black table olives has had a specific impact on businesses and cooperatives in Seville, which have exported to the United States for more than 40 years.
After attending the G-7 meeting with leaders of seven of the world’s largest economies, Biden will travel from the UK to Brussels to meet with EU officials.
Among the topics that should be discussed are the tariffs imposed by Biden’s predecessor on a range of agricultural and manufacturing imports from the EU, including packaged olive oil and some green table olives.
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The two sides agreed to freeze tariffs for four months in March. Shortly after Biden leaves Brussels, the US trade representative and the European Commission will have to decide whether to reinstate tariffs or extend the moratorium.
As tariffs on black olives stem from a separate trade dispute, Spanish table olive growers and politicians see the meeting as the time to eliminate tariffs.
According to the Spanish Association of Table Olive Exporters and Producers (Asemesa), exports of black table olives to the United States have fallen 68% since tariffs were imposed in 2017.
Due to the two sets of tariffs, the entire table olive sector has lost around 135 million euros over the past 3.5 years.
“The tariff on black table olives has had a specific impact on businesses and cooperatives in Seville, which have exported to the United States for more than 40 years, ”said Clara Aguilera, center-left member of the European Parliament ( MPE) from Granada at a recent event.
Also speaking at the event, Juan Ignacio Zoido, a center-right MP from Seville, called the tariffs “unfair and abusive. He added that the conflict “is not positive for anyone ”and has harmed consumers and producers “on both sides of the Atlantic.
The meeting between Biden and EU officials is also expected to take place days before the World Trade Organization issues its final report on whether the legal basis for US tariffs violates WTO policies.
Despite lobbying from Spanish politicians, how the WTO rules on the case will ultimately determine whether or not black olive producers will benefit from a tariff suspension.