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.
Former US president Donald Trump’s administration slapped extra tariffs on Spain’s iconic agricultural export in 2018, considering their olives were subsidised and being dumped on the US market at prices below their real value.
The combined rates of the anti-subsidy and anti-dumping duties go as high as 44 percent.
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 US 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.”
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