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US fails to comply with Spanish olive decision – WTO

Brussels, Feb 20 (Prensa Latina) The World Trade Organization ruled today that the United States still has not complied with a previous WTO decision against anti-dumping and countervailing duties that the Trump administration imposed on Spanish ripe olives back in 2018.

That opens the door for the European Union to retaliate against the United States using its new unilateral mechanism, even if Washington tries to thwart that action by appealing the case, since there is no functioning Appellate Body at the WTO.

“Today’s WTO panel report presents again a clear and full win for the EU. It confirms that the US failed to implement the recommendations of the original panel, namely the finding that the US law, based on which anti-subsidy duties on Spanish ripe olives were imposed, is incompatible with WTO rules,” the European Commission said in a statement.

The dispute dates back to 2019, and in 2021 experts in Brussels issued a ruling in favor of Spain and the EU for the olive issue, in light of the provisions of the 1994 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures.

According to the Monday´s ruling, the US-applied rebates in January 2023 are insufficient, going from 35% to 31%.

The experts’ ruling could lead to another review at WTO, but this is currently impossible because its Appellate Body, the final instance for dispute settlement, has been blocked for years as a result of the US refusal to appoint new judges.