WTO rules Trump-era import tariffs on Spanish olives breach rules
A US decision to slap steep import duties on Spanish olives over claims they benefited from subsidies constituted a violation of international trade rules, the World Trade Organisation ruled Friday.
The European Commission, which handles trade policy for the 27 EU states, said the move was unacceptable and turned to the WTO, where a panel of experts was appointed to examine the case.
In Friday’s ruling, the WTO panel agreed with the EU’s argument that the anti-subsidy duties were illegal.
But it did not support its stance that the U.S. anti-dumping duties violated international trade rules.
The panel said it “recommended that the United States bring its measures into conformity with its obligations”.
EU trade commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis hailed the ruling, pointing out that the US duties “severely hit Spanish olive producers.”
“We now expect the US to take the appropriate steps to implement the WTO ruling, so that exports of ripe olives from Spain to the US can resume under normal conditions,” he said.
The European Commission charges that Spain’s exports of ripe olives to the United States, which previously raked in €67 million ($75.6 million) annually, have shrunk by nearly 60 percent since the duties were imposed.
The office of the US Trade Representative in Washington did not immediately comment on the ruling.
According to WTO rules, the parties have 60 days to file for an appeal.