Spanish producers of olive oil, wine, canned goods, sausages, cheeses and fruit are on high alert after the US government of President Donald Trump announced its decision to impose tariffs on exports European Union countries, including Spain, from October 18. This decision, if implemented, would mean a dangerous escalation of the trade tensions between the EU and the United States.
The US Department of Commerce yesterday shared a list of 150 product classes that could be hit with a 25% tariff in the case of agri-food products and a 10% tariff in the case of civil aircraft.
Endangered products accounted for 930 million euros of Spanish exports to the United States last year, according to calculations made by EL PAÃS based on their US tariff code (known as TARIC in the EU) and DataComex statistics from the Spanish Ministry of Industry, which are based on customs office data. This analysis is based only on the first six digits of the tariff code.
From this list, olive oil and wine were the most exported products in 2018. Together, they accounted for more than 600 million euros in sales. In fact, the two sectors represent over 700 million euros (405 million euros in olive oil and 299 million euros in wine) but not all categories and subcategories of each product appear on the American list. In the case of wine, for example, the price list only refers to the wine made with fresh grapes (no sparkling wine), in bottles of less than two liters, with less than 14% alcohol.
Olives, which represent 155.4 million euros in exports, is another product that could be affected by the decision of the US government. The list also includes cheese products, such as fromage frais and cottage cheese, certain categories of frozen pork and several classes of fruits, including clementines (80 million euros in export sales last year. ) and lemons (4.9 million euros). The list also includes certain types of alcohol (6.2 million euros) and airplanes (6.2 million euros).
The list of products is provisional. The World Trade Organization (WTO) will hold a special meeting of its dispute settlement body on October 14 in Geneva to formally adopt a decision on the tariffs proposed by Trump. This is the last official step before the US president applies the sanctions. The European Commission could impose tariffs on U.S. imports in retaliation, and in turn unleash a dreaded trade war. “If the United States decides to impose countermeasures authorized by the WTO, it will push the EU into a situation where we will have no choice but to do the same,” said the European commissioner. at Commerce Cecilia MalmstrÃ¶m in a press release.