The agricultural sector in Málaga received a set-back on October 19 when the USA’s new tariff on importing produce from Spain became effective. It affects a wide range of products including olive oil, olives, butter, wine, cheese and pork

The rate increased from 3.5 per cent to 25 per cent which the Bank of Spain has estimated will mean a decline of at least 12 per cent in Spanish sales to America, equivalent to 0.01 per cent of GDP. The government has estimated an economic impact of US$841 million.

The rise came as representatives of Málaga’s wine and oil industries voiced their concerns to Juan Carlos Maldonado, vice-president of the provincial government and its Deputy for Sustainable Economic Development. They warned him that small and medium businesses in the sector will see falls in their exports to the USA of up to 30 per cent.

Oil producers are particularly worried that American customers will turn to ordering supplies from Italy, Tunisia and Greece which are not affected by the increased tariff rate. The Axarquía in particular is heavily dependent on producing the raw fruit for the manufacture of olive oil.

The Deputy was also made aware that there is “great concern” amongst small business because large companies exporting oil or wine in bulk are not affected by the increased rates.

Sr Maldonado said Málaga’s provincial government has commissioned a study to assess the economic impact of the tariff increase, and is encouraging central government and Brussels to approve aid packages for the sector. He added that the situation should act as an incentive for the sector to seek new markets, particularly in Asia.

In Madrid, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism functions, Reyes Maroto, has assured Spanish producers that the Government is working to make the USA reconsider through “dialogue and consensus.” He added that Spain’s policy is to “negotiate, negotiate, negotiate.”

The tariffs have been imposed by the US after the World Trade Organisation ruled in favour of the United States which claimed that illegal subsidies had been received by the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus. The measure also affects food products from over a dozen EU countries including French wines and cheeses, Scottish and Irish malt whisky, British sweets, German coffee and biscuits, and Italian cheeses.

In Madrid, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism functions, Reyes Maroto, has assured Spanish producers that the Government is working to make the USA reconsider through “dialogue and consensus.” He added that Spain’s policy is to “negotiate, negotiate, negotiate.”

It is understood that the new legislation will be modelled on similar laws in Sweden and Germany which criminalize sex without clearly expressed consent as rape.  Experts say “yes means yes” is more effective that “no means no,” which often places the burden on victims and prosecutors to prove unwanted contact.