What's new in the penultimate? trade conflict with the United States. Brussels has agreed this Wednesday with Washington to give half a year more time - until January 14, 2023 - for the US authorities to comply with the ruling contrary to the 35% tariff on Spanish black olives and issued by the World Trade Organization (WTO) in November 2021. From the Association of Exporters of Table Olives (Asemesa), which represents Spanish exporters, its Secretary General Antonio de Mora has warned that "this does not mean that the tariff is going to be eliminated" and that, this agreement, gives the Biden administration more time to try to justify the tariffs through new "investigations." Specifically, according to De Mora, these would already be taking place.
Since August 2018, the Spanish black olive has been subject to a 35% tariff - 20% for antidumping, at the request of the Californian olive sector, and another 15% to compensate for the aid allocated by the Common Agricultural Policy (PAC) - and that has meant losses of more than 170 million euros. In addition to losing more than 70% of exports to the United States in favor of Morocco, Portugal and Egypt.
De Mora (Asemesa) has pointed out that the agreement with Brussels "allows the United States to try to justify the tariffs they have imposed through new investigations." Some inquiries that have already begun, have been assured from this organization. "It does not imply the elimination of the tariff at all, but rather new research, more cost, more work and more uncertainty for the sector," he concluded.
On the occasion of the last NATO summit, which was held in Madrid at the end of June, Asemesa sent letters to Felipe VI and the Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez asking them to take advantage of the bilateral contacts with the President of the United States John Biden, to try to work out a solution. Spain happens to be one of the main exporting countries of black and table olives. Each year around 1,300 million euros are invoiced and the sector directly employs 8,000 people.
Millionaire expenses in lawyers
In parallel, Asemesa has already spent 8.5 million euros on lawyers to defend itself before the US justice system. From this association they point out that, in a few days, the courts are expected to rule for the third time on the tariff. On the two previous occasions they have ruled in favor of the Spanish exporters: «In a few days we expect a third ruling along the same lines, although the judicial resolutions within the American procedure are not enforceable unless the judge decides so and, normally, give public administration another chance. For us, they are failures that have proved us right in our main argument, “explained De Mora.
Another line of defense involves collaborating with the Office of the United States Trade Representative, specifically, with the so-called 'administrative reviews' (the next one for this tariff is set for June 2023), although the companies investigated are selected by the Americans. . This year 5 Spanish companies are benefiting from a reduced tariff of 7.5% (the rest of the industry has it at 35%), which may be revoked in 2023.