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Luis Planas underlines need to maintain European unity and a firm stance in response to sanctions announced by USA on agri-food products

Wednesday 9 October 2019

The acting minister highlighted the importance of maintaining European unity in defence of our common interests.

Against this backdrop, Luis Planas stressed that Spain will firmly defend the interests of its producers and exporters. To achieve that, the government has the express backing of the regional governments and the agri-food sector, attained at the meetings held with the acting minister earlier this week.

Specifically, Luis Planas asked Commissioner Malström for firmness to address the announcement of "unfair" sanctions by the United State on agri-food products, for an approximate sum of 7.5 billion dollars EU-wide.

In this regard, Luis Planas highlighted the major effort being made by the European Commission to ensure that the panel in the Airbus case can be crossed in the near future with the EU panel in the Boeing case that affects the United States, and hence, leave the agri-food sector to one side in the trade war.

As well as conveying the same message, Luis Planas addressed with Commissioner Hogan the situation in each one of the sectors. In the case of olive oil, the economic impact of customs duties would be serious and come on top of the price slump in the sector as a result of a record figures achieved in the most recent harvest.

In this regard, the government has requested private storage of olive oil. Although the threshold for its activation has not been reached, Luis Planas considers that at this time special circumstances exist for the Commission to be sensitive and adopt this measure. In response to this request, the commissioner undertook to examine Spain's request and provide a response in the coming days.

In relation to table olives, the acting minister recalled that, as a result of the proceedings against black olives, the sector has already lost some 40% of its market in the United States in just one year. On this point, Luis Planas has not only called for promotional measures, but also the possibility of ultimately examining the possibility of alternative measures.

Spanish wine has a growing presence in the markets in the United States, in the medium-high segment, and the government is interested in consolidating this position and even extending it, to which end it has asked for additional promotional measures.

And as regards the rest of the sectors, the acting minister pointed out that, should the application of customs duties have any negative knock-oneffects, it would be necessary to unlock the measures provided for in the Common Organisation of the Markets (COM) in agricultural products, particularly regarding their promotion.

Non official translation