Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) issued the following statement after the World Trade Organization (WTO) announced that the United States can impose annual tariffs up to $7.5 billion on goods from the European Union, the largest award in WTO history, in response to illegal subsidies given to Airbus in the past.
The U.S. now plans to impose an additional 25 percent tariff on bulk olives coming from Spain which have been illegally dumped into the U.S. market and severely damaging California ripe olive growers.
In July of 2018, the International Trade Commission (ITC) voted affirmatively that the U.S. ripe olive industry is suffering significant losses as a result of ripe olives from Spain being subsidized and sold in the U.S. at less than fair value.
The U.S. issued its final affirmative antidumping and countervailing duty rulings last year in the California ripe olive industry’s trade action against Spain.
In May of 2018, Congressman LaMalfa testified at the U.S. ITC hearing regarding the California ripe olive industry and the damage being done. In 2017, Congressman LaMalfa also led a bipartisan letter to Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in support of the U.S. ripe olive industry’s import relief petition against unfairly traded ripe olives from Spain.
LaMalfa said, “California growers established the U.S. ripe olive industry more than a century ago, but years of low-quality Spanish olives at unreasonably low prices flooding the market has threatened the entire industry’s existence.
“I was happy to get involved on behalf of California ripe olives and I’m thankful the WTO has taken this important and final step to level the playing field.
“U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has been a tireless advocate for American trade interests, and this decision will provide much-needed relief for California ripe olive growers while improving the quality of table olives available to American consumers.”
Michael Silveira, Chairman of the Olive Growers Council of California, said, “Today’s announcement is terrific news for California olive growers.
“While our farmers produce the highest-quality olives in the world, Spain has been subsidizing its olive industry for years to flood the U.S. market with cheaper, low-quality olives.
“The WTO’s ruling safeguards the integrity of the Administration’s olive anti-dumping and countervailing rulings. History will recognize this as the final critical step needed to put the U.S. table olive industry on a level playing field with Spain.
“We applaud the relentless efforts of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Their decision to propose retaliatory tariffs on bulk olives was not only correct but it will be of great support to hundreds of California table olive farmers and their families for years to come.”
Among many other California-produced products, the U.S. countermeasures also include tariffs on EU canned peaches, canned mixed fruit and frozen peaches.
Rich Hudgins, president and CEO of the California Canned Peach Association, said, “USTR has taken this important step today to uphold U.S. trading rights and take a stand against unfair EU subsidies. Many other U.S. sectors, including ours, are concerned about unfair EU subsidies. Subsidized canned fruit imports from the EU and other origins have caused major contractions in our industry, including the recent shuttering of a large California peach cannery, resulting in several hundred job losses. While today’s measures deliver a strong enforcement statement against unfair EU subsidies, they will also help the US processed peach growers, processors, suppliers, and local communities, who for too long have suffered losses from decades of EU canned fruit subsidies.”
For a list of products subject to additional tariffs under the new ruling, click here. The tariffs will be enforced starting Oct. 18, assuming WTO approval Oct. 14.
Congressman Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing California’s First Congressional District, including Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama counties.