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Reyes Maroto and Luis Planas guarantee the government's commitment to the agri-food sector in defence of Spanish interests in response to customs duties imposed by USA

Thursday 9 January 2020

The two acting ministers outlined the situation of the litigation to the sector, as well as the steps taken by the government to defend Spanish interests following the imposition of these duties.

Reyes Maroto and Luis Planas stated that the government is actively working with both the European Commission (EC) - negotiating on behalf of the European Union - and bilaterally with the United States, to find a negotiated solution.

The acting ministers also underlined that Spain is advocating additional measures to support the sectors hardest hit by these duties. The USA has launched a public consultation process (with a period for filing pleas until 13 January) to revise the list of products and the amount of the customs duties imposed within the framework of the dispute over the Airbus case, which could exacerbate the situation.

Reyes Maroto stressed the government's interest in holding talks to achieve a "negotiated solution" to definitively reverse the duties imposed.

Luis Planas stated that these duties are "profoundly unfair" because they affect a sector entirely unrelated to the origin of the conflict. The acting minister argued that the government is doing "everything within its power" to ensure that the EC draws up sufficient compensatory measures to support these sectors.

Contacts

Reyes Maroto explained that her department has held four meetings with representatives from the US Administration - the US Embassy in Spain, White House advisors, and two meetings with representatives from US Trade. In addition, the acting minister met in Brussels with the European Commissioner for Trade, Phil Hogan, earlier this week.

Furthermore, at the most recent European Union Agriculture Council meeting in December, some 10 countries, headed up by Spain and France, requested additional support for the sectors hardest hit by these customs duties, underlined Luis Planas.

These customs duties affect such products as bottled olive oil and green table olives, wine and spirits, canned fruit and vegetables, citrus fruits, pork and cheese.

Actions adopted to support sectors affected

Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y AlimentaciónSince the imposition of counter-measures by the United States in October, the Government of Spain has been working through the EU to alleviate its effects, by mobilising support measures (within and beyond the scope of the CAP). To date, the EC has announced the following measures:

  • Activation of crisis management subsidies under the CAP, such as for private storage.
  • Activation of promotion measures in third countries and in the internal market. In November, it adopted the work programme for 2020, which provides for an allocation of 200.9 million euros for promotion programmes, which increase EU funding and make the possibility of changing destination country more flexible.

Through the ICEX (Institute of Foreign Trade), Spain has strengthened its promotion programmes and instruments that are already consolidated, which commit to differentiation and to reinforcing the high quality and diversity of our foodstuffs and wines.

Luis Planas and Reyes Maroto asked association sectors for information on the impact of these customs duties on their companies, so as to form better arguments to the EU in defence of compensatory measures.

The meeting was attended by agri-food cooperatives, professional farming organisations (Asaja, COAG and UPA), the Federation of Food and Drink Industries (FIAB), The Spanish Wine Federation (FEV), the Spanish Federation of Associations of Export Producers of Fruit and Vegetables (Fepex), the Spanish Association of the Industry and Export Trade of Olive Oil (Asoliva), the Association of Exporters of Table Olives (Asemesa), the National Federation of Dairy Industries (Fenil), the National Association of Meat Industries of Spain (ANICE) and the Business Federation of Meats and Meat Industries (Fecic), as well as the FEBE (Spanish Federation of Spirit Producers), the Spanish Conference of Wine Regulator Councils and the National Federation of Association of Transformed Vegetables and Processed Foods (Fenaval).

Non official translation