U.S. tariffs to harm Spanish exports: official

The new tariffs of 25 percent on EU agricultural products announced by the U.S. government will harm Spanish key exports, Spain's Secretary of State for Commerce Xiana Mendez has said.

The tariffs, planned to come into effect on October 18 for EU food and drink, will affect key sectors of the Spanish economy, such as olive oil, wine, and milk-based produce such as cheese, Mendez said in a press conference on Thursday.

Acting Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called for "prudence, preparation and efficiency" in the face of the uncertainty caused by the threat to the Spanish economy by the impending Brexit and the "desire for protectionism by some leaders who send tweets at night".

Sanchez highlighted the effort his government was making to help some Spanish products, "which are unique in the world", reach new markets.

Pedro Sanchez is interviewed upon his arrival at the EU headquarters, May 28, 2019. /Xinhua Photo

Pedro Sanchez is interviewed upon his arrival at the EU headquarters, May 28, 2019. /Xinhua Photo

The acting Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, said the government would meet those affected by the tariffs and had spoken to the European Commission.

"It is not good news, but it's obvious that it reflects an attitude of a lack of respect for multilateral commerce based on rules," he commented.

According to the Spanish Federation of Wine, the U.S. was the fourth market for Spain's wine exports in 2018 – valued at 325 million euros, of which 240 million (73.8 percent) would be harmed by the U.S. tariffs.

The planned U.S. tariffs came after the ruling made by the World Trade Organization (WTO) in favor of the U.S. administration, which permitted the imposition of sanctions to 7.5-billion U.S. dollars of EU goods and services.

Maria Angeles Ruiz Ezpeleta, expert and professor at the EAE Business School, said that U.S. consumers are the big losers because they end up paying more for their shopping.

"There is no produce to substitute a Rioja wine or a Spanish olive oil and if the price rises from six dollars to 7.20 or 7.50 dollars, then a lot of Spanish wine, cheese and olive oil lovers are going to pay for it," commented the expert.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency