The recent announcement of the five-year suspension of the tariffs that the EU and the US imposed on each other within the framework of the commercial conflict maintained by both blocs for the aid granted to Airbus and Boeing, offers new perspectives for the Spanish export sectors that were affected by said tariffs.
One of these sectors is Castellon's citrus sector, which was forced to stop sending clementines to the US market at the end of 2019 when the administration led by Donald Trump imposed a 25% tariff on the product, making these exports unviable.
The Citrus Management Committee, an organization that brings together the main exporters of the Community, expressed their satisfaction with this announcement, as it shows that the arrival of Biden to the White House has positively changed the relations between the United States and the European Union. Despite freeing themselves from the tariff, the sector said that, after two years of absence, they will need to reposition their product in the US market and compete against the countries that gained ground there in that time, such as Morocco.
The secretary-general of the Unio de Llauradors, Carles Peris, said this commercial peace was good news and that they hoped they would be able to export to the US again. Finding out in June that we'll be able to export to the US in the next season gives us enough time to prepare. It's something we couldn't do in March when tariffs were lifted for only four months, he added.
Cristobal Aguado, the president of the Valencian Association of Farmers, said he was glad the tariff barriers were suspended but recalled that this commercial problem was the result of an injustice and that the agricultural sector bore the brunt of it. That's why he proposed the EU compensate them for damages.
The North American market is considered a very interesting country to expand citrus sales, which are lately limited to European countries. However, being released from this extra cost isn't the only challenge pending for the sector. The Management Committee said the US had very harsh phytosanitary conditions. They require a cold treatment that has a cost of nine cents for each kilogram exported, Carles Peris stated.
To solve this, the sector has asked the Ministry of Agriculture to negotiate a series of conditions so that exports are viable.