The 25% increase in US tariffs on different European agri-food products announced by the Trump administration in October 2019, in the context of the conflict between the United States and the EU for the aid given to Boeing and Airbus, had a strong impact on Valencia's citrus industry.
This, according to a report regarding the Valencian Community's exports to the United States published by the Chamber of Commerce of Valencia. According to the export balance, in 2020 Valencian exporters refrained from shipping several items that were taxed by the US trade; including clementines, which in 2017 amounted to 10,135,200 euro; mandarins, which for the second consecutive year did not register exports after shipments to the US in 2017 totaled 3,026,300 euro, and oranges.
The sector's main concern is that, while Valencian citrus fruits had tariffs of 25%, those from Australia, Canada, Chile, Israel, South Korea, Morocco, Mexico, and Peru were exempt from them. As a result, they fear they'll encounter serious difficulties to regain the ground they lost in this market.
Products that benefited
Interestingly, according to the data, the impact of the tariffs benefited sales of canned olives, which quadrupled the sales registered in 2019, as well as sales of canned peaches and pears. Exports of the former doubled when compared to 2017, though they maintained the level achieved in 2019 (3,142,500 euro).
The Chamber report analyzes the evolution from 2017 to 2020 of the exports of the main tariff items included in the US list. In general, Valencian exports of agri-food products and beverages to the United States have increased in recent years. In the first quarter of 2021 exports of some of these items have increased by up to 58%.
According to the Valencian chamber, these figures prove that the United States is a very important dynamic market filled with opportunities for Valencian companies, as reflected in the evolution of exports in recent years, which even accelerated in the first months of 2021 despite the pandemic.