• Trade war.What European partners can benefit from US tariffs to Spain?

The European Union will try today to pressure the United States to withdraw tariffs on agricultural products from several European countries, including Spain. Both parties will hold a mediation meeting in Geneva, at the headquarters of the World Trade Organization (WTO), although the US country is not expected to reverse its decision.

At nine o'clock in the morning, the appointment between both parties and the WTO Dispute Settlement Body, which was convened at the request of the United States, is scheduled to begin. The agency already authorized Trump two weeks ago to impose tariffs on products from the EU for a maximum of 7,496.6 million dollars (6,793 million euros) in compensation for aid granted to Airbus, a competitor of the US manufacturer Boeing.

The EU is not very optimistic about the appointment, and this was raised last Wednesday by the Commissioners of Commerce and Agriculture to the Spanish Minister responsible for Agriculture, Luis Planas. Spain is confident that Brussels will use all possible pressure measures to avoid a package of tariffs that weigh primarily on the member countries of the Airbus consortium: Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Spain.

In the case of our country, it is estimated that the rates will affect exports worth 765 million euros, according to Planas last week. The minister estimated tariffs at 192 million euros per year, which will be what the sectors affected by the sales of their products to the US have to pay.

Low hopes

Spain does trust that an agreement can be reached today between both parties. Its trick is that the EU has another case open against the US for the aid granted to Boeing and it is estimated that the compensation that the EU could request for them will be of an amount similar to those that the US will impose, so both they could be neutralized: the sanctions of one by those of the other. The ruling will be known within a few months, but Brussels will try to negotiate with that argument, even being aware that the US is unlikely to retract.

The US had requested that Monday's meeting be held with the objective of obtaining approval of its countermeasures, which was already authorized by the WTO two weeks ago. If an agreement is not reached, the US will begin to apply tariffs on certain EU goods as of October 18, the day on which the final list of affected products will be published.

The increase in tariffs from that day will be 10% for civil aviation products and 25% for agricultural products. In the case of Spain, it affects the most emblematic products of the field: wine, olive oil, cheeses or olives. These rates mean that the North American consumer pays more expensive products imported to Spain. It could also stop buying them, which would reduce exports to the US, as has already happened, in fact, with the Spanish black olive. Sales to the US have plummeted after Trump's approved tariffs on this product.

If the tariffs are executed, Brussels will prepare its package to counterattack when the resolution of its complaint is known for aid to Boeing. The list of products to which these additional taxes could apply (the total value amounted to about 18,000 million euros) includes ketchup, frozen fish, fruits, game consoles, airplanes and helicopters.

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  • Spain
  • Boeing
  • Airbus
  • U.S
  • European Union
  • United Kingdom
  • Luis Planas
  • France
  • Germany

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