August 3, 2021

The war of the black olive against Trump … and the EU

The war of the black olive against Trump ... and the EU


US tariffs steel and aluminum woke up Europe. The European Commission took the case to World Trade Organization (WTO) and imposed rebalancing measures on North American products. He issued a warning that the Old Continent was not going to allow Donald Trump to break the rules. On the other hand, the answer differs for the case of the Spanish black olive, under the current yoke of 35% tariff from the US

"We miss that the EU takes a step forward," explains Antonio de Mora, general secretary of the Spanish Association of Exporters and Industrialists of Mesa Olive (Asemesa). Accordingly, the employer spokesman warns of the lack of initiative of the European institutions: "At the political and diplomatic level, what has not been done has been done. One thing is the investigation, which is continuing, and another thing that one can not exercise all the force that the EU is supposed to have ».

To date, the consequences of tariffs are not minor. Exports of black olives to the USA They fell in August – with all the official measures already in effect – almost 70%. Also, in annual calculation the sector has already lost almost 14 million euros in sales, so Asemesa has appealed to the American courts against tariffs.

This situation does nothing but aggravate the tension of a sector that sees how it can lose 100% of exports to the American country, that is, 70 million euros. For this reason, De Mora urges the European Comission to take them into account. "They can not abandon us because this sector does not deserve it," he says. However, the footprint in the olive industry is far from optimistic. "There is a feeling of impotence very big", detail from the employers.

Asemesa denounces the "situation of despair" in the absence of response

This feeling of not being able to do anything about "injustices" – as Asemesa considers it – is reflected in the frustration of the sector with the internal response of the European Commission to compensate the victims. The Commissioner of Commerce, Cecilia Malmström, advanced the possibility of helping the black olive with 2.5 million euros in the 2019 budget. An announcement that, for now, has not materialized in anything and that, moreover, it is an amount that is not intended to Spain but to the whole of the EU Member States, which would further reduce the amount to be received by the Andalusian industry. «The amount is ridiculous. They are not giving us any help, "says De Mora, to continue that" it gives the feeling that they are not aware of what is at stake. " All this in reference to an advertising policy and disinformation without effect at the moment. " Always is "we are studying". This puts you in a situation of despair, "cries the secretary general of Asemesa.

From the Commission they treat with absolute discretion the investigations that are being carried out to evaluate if they denounce before the WTO and if, finally, they will destine funds of support to the product. Community sources are limited to answering that there is nothing to communicate since they put on the table the option of going to the WTO. Technical meetings continue without having reached a conclusion in months. And, in response, sources of the Commission hide behind the complexity of this issue, in the case of tariffs on steel and aluminum. There are no marked deadlines to take a firm decision, although from Asemesa they stress that they must give them a solution soon. They fear for the future of a sector that already loses jobs, as in the company Agro Sevilla that had to do without 50 employees. The employers warn of worse effects in the coming months and urges Europe to react as soon as possible as this puts in check the entire policy of EU aid.


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