Producers of black table olives in Spain will not receive compensation from the European Commission to cover the legal expenses they are facing while combating the tariffs imposed by the United States on their exports.
At the last meeting of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Commission, the European Commission acknowledged that the tariff quarrel “is a problem regarding not only Spain.” One of its top officials noted how such tariffs are “unacceptable” because they were adopted “in violation of the World Trade Organization regulations.”
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The European Commission’s deputy director general for agriculture and rural development, John Clarke, stressed that table olive producers in Spain could find partial relief from the European Union’s rural development funding.
He also noted that current regulations allow the Spanish government to award up to €200 million over three years to support specific cases.
As reported by Euractiv, Clarke insisted that the European Union will continue to work to remove such punitive tariffs. Still, he warned that legal expenses would not be refunded.
Before his remarks, table olive producers from Spain presented a detailed list of the damages caused by the U.S. tariffs. In their words, the tariffs have provoked a 68 percent cut in black olive volumes exported to the United States in the last five years.
According to Gabriel Cabello, president of the table olive department of the agri-food cooperatives of Spain, the void left in the United States’ black olive market is being filled by competitors from other European countries not involved in the trade dispute and from North African producers.
Cabello noted that the United States black olive market is the most important in the world, which means that such tariffs directly affect the development of the whole sector in Spain.
According to International Olive Council (IOC) figures, table olives import volumes in the United States have grown significantly over the past few decades. In the 1990/1991 season, the U.S. imported 68 thousand tons of table olives. Such figures grew to 157.5 thousand tons in the 2021/2022 season. Today the U.S. represents a large share of global table olive imports.
As reported by Agroinformacion, in his speech, Cabello warned that the “illegal tariffs” imposed by the U.S. violate the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union and its subsidies.
“Today, it is an action against one member state [of the European Union] only, and one sector only, but it might be applied more widely to more sectors and more member states,” Cabello said. He noted that since the tariffs were imposed, more than €8.5 million has been spent in American courts by Spain’s entire table olive sector.
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