Olives pitting US against EU in global trade fight

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A trade battle is leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of Spain’s olive growers.

Tariffs levied against them by the US last year have cost the industry $27m (£20.8m) and are likely to have lasting effects on Spain’s olive-growing regions.

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Antonio De Mora, general-secretary for Spain’s Association of Table Olive Producers and Exporters (ASEMESA), says olive farming is a vital industry for Andalusia and nearby regions where there are few alternatives for jobs.

“The harvest of black olives has been greatly reduced as a result of the decrease in demand,” he says.

It is impossible to replace such an important market as the US in the short and medium term.

In June 2018 the US imposed tariffs on black olives from Spain, which it said were being sold below market value. It placed tariffs of up to 25.5% to counteract the alleged dumping and an additional duty of up to 27.02% to counter what Washington deemed were unfair subsidies from the European Union.

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