The United States and the European Union agreed yesterday to suspend the tariff war started more than a year ago by then-President Donald Trump as a result of the dispute over aid to Airbus and Boeing. It will be a four-month armistice, following a call between the current US president, Joe Biden, and the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. This pause opens an opportunity for Murcian exporters to recover lost ground in terms of wines, cheeses and lemons, which have suffered a 25% penalty in customs since October 2019. This left harsh competitors from the Region in that market, such as Argentina and Chile, free to play.
“As a symbol of a new beginning, we have agreed to suspend the tariffs imposed in connection with the dispute between Airbus and Boeing, on both aerospace and food products for a period of four months,” reported Von der Leyen.
Brussels insisted that it is a first step to resolve aeronautical disputes. As a result of the conflict, Washington imposed tariffs on European exports worth 6,300 million euros per year, while Europe did the same with North American exports worth 3,360 million.
La Moncloa celebrated the temporary suspension of tariffs, since they affected Spanish agri-food products such as olive oil, canned olives, cheeses and wines, among other products.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, described the suspension of these rates as a “great step” to reach as soon as possible a definitive solution within the World Trade Organization (WTO) and achieve “definitively lifting some tariffs that are weighing down the Spanish aeronautical and agri-food industry, and resuming exports to the US market. His counterpart in Agriculture, Luis Planas, pointed out that this is “excellent news” for the national agri-food sector, “unfairly affected.”
Relief in the Region
The Murcian Executive also celebrated last night the temporary suspension of US tariffs. The Minister of Water, Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Environment, Antonio Luengo described the news as very positive: «We see fulfilled one of the great demands of the regional government, which in recent months has demanded the withdrawal of this unfair extra cost that it made complicated the sale of Murcian products in that country.
“Precisely – he added – this was one of the points that we put on the table in the recent visit of Minister Planas to the Region, where President López Miras again demanded negotiations that would allow an end to this unfair affront to the agricultural sector.”
However, Antonio Luengo recalled that it is a temporary suspension that only lasts until the summer, “so we must continue working and urging the Government of Spain and the European Union to stop using agriculture as a bargaining chip and achieve the definitive elimination of such tariffs, until which time we will continue to defend the right of our producers and exporters to compete on an equal basis with the rest of the countries ”.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.