The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, has censured a decision by the United States to impose high tariffs on the import of olive from Spain, saying the “unacceptable” move would eventually hurt American consumers.
“The decision by the United States Department of Commerce to impose unreasonably high and prohibitive duties, anti-subsidy and anti-dumping duties, on Spanish olives is simply unacceptable,” a Commission spokesman said on Wednesday, adding, “This is a protectionist measure targeting a high-quality and successful EU product popular with US consumers.”
Washington has yet to officially confirm the new tariffs on Spanish olive but many expect it to be rubber-stamped by the US International Trade Commission in July.
The tariffs come amid some unprecedented tensions between the European Union and the United States over President Donald Trump’s controversial metal tariffs. The EU failed to gain a permanent exemption from the tariffs, which are expected to hurt many jobs in the continent.
The EU has announced that it would impose its own tariffs on American products and says a series of such tariffs on US imports, including bourbon and jeans, would be implemented as of July to target 2.8 billion euros’ worth of American imports.
Many fear Trump’s consistent threats for imposing more tariffs on trade with the European Union would trigger a trade war between the two sides of the Atlantic.
European powers had hoped that a recent summit of the G7 group of industrialized countries in Canada could provide an opportunity to mend ties with the US. However, Trump dashed those hopes by pulling out of a joint communiqué of the summit and mocked a call in the statement for “free, fair and mutually beneficial trade”.
“Fair trade is now to be called fool trade if it is not reciprocal,” read a Monday posting on Twitter from the US president, who has repeatedly criticized key allies for maintaining a large trade deficit with the United States.