By Joseph Profaci, NAOOA

Late Friday, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) published a notice in the Federal Register regarding its intention to re-open consideration of the tariffs imposed on European products in connection with the Airbus dispute described in Remove Olive Oil from Prospective Tariff List and in Greeks Respond to New American Tariffs on European Goods.

The notice included a listing of the current tariff regime, which includes the 25% tariff on packed olive oils from Spain, and requested comment on whether any products on the list should be removed or whether the tariff rate imposed (i.e., 25% for olive oil) should be increased, up to 100%.

The notice also included a separate listing of all the products for which tariffs were originally proposed but not imposed in “round one.” USTR is once again requesting comment on which of these products should or should not be added to the tariff list, and at what tariff rate up to 100%. Included among these products are bulk olive oils from Spain, as well as bulk and packaged olive oils from all other European countries (i.e., Italy, Greece, Portugal, France, etc.).

Written comments are due January 13. There was no mention of public hearings this time. USTR once again specifically asks for information on how such tariffs adversely impact small and medium-size companies as well as consumers. This provides a new opportunity for the North American Olive Oil Association (and individual members and non-members) to submit comments as to why tariffs on olive oils (regardless of type, origin or packaging) are unfairly burdensome to American companies and consumers, and contrary to public policy promoting healthy eating patterns. Insofar as the tariffs on Spanish packaged goods have been in effect now for over six weeks, I once again ask each member to share with me any concrete information about the harm to American stakeholders (companies, employees, and consumers) the existing tariffs have caused since they were announced.

There was no indication in the notice as to how much time USTR might take to review submitted comments prior to making any changes to the tariffs in effect. I will be consulting with our advisors at Akin Gump as to other steps we might take to once again to oppose the existing tariffs and avoid any others.

Thanks to Joseph R. Profaci, Executive Director of the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA), for sharing this news and inviting written comments (especially from Americans) on the USTR’s reconsideration of tariffs on European products, including Greek olive oil and olives.