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USTR Statement on the EU’s Consultation Request at the WTO

01/29/2019

Washington, DC – Today, the United States received from the European Union (EU) a request for consultations at the World Trade Organization challenging the imposition of U.S. antidumping and countervailing duties on Spanish olives. 

The request grows out of an investigation where the U.S. Department of Commerce found that olives from Spain were unfairly dumped in the United States at rates ranging from 16.88 to 25.50 percent. The U.S. Department of Commerce also found that olives from Spain were unfairly subsidized at rates ranging from 7.52 to 27.02 percent.

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) – an independent, bipartisan body – found that the U.S. olive industry was materially injured by unfairly traded Spanish imports. The USITC’s final determination includes evidence that Spanish producers engaged in significant price underselling during the period examined, particularly when import values were increasing, resulting in loss of market share to the most important sector for the U.S. industry. The USITC’s record also indicates that the actions of Spanish producers resulted in significant job losses and declines in profitability for the U.S. industry.

In short, the EU is asking the WTO to intervene in a situation where U.S. producers suffered harm due to unfair trade. Responding to the EU’s filing, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said, “The purpose of the global trading system is to promote market-efficient outcomes that reward hard work and innovation. It would be unfortunate if the WTO were to encourage the type of unfair and market-distorting trade that was at issue in this case. We believe that the EU’s case is without merit, and we intend to fight it very aggressively.”

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