SHARE
COPY LINK

TRADE

Olive war: EU fights US import duties on Spanish olives

The European Union on Monday said it would launch proceedings at the World Trade Organization against US import duties on Spanish olives.

Olive war:  EU fights US import duties on Spanish olives
Trump hiked tax on Spanish olive to 'Make America Great Again'. Photo: AFP

“Tomorrow, we are taking this case to the WTO dispute settlement system, requesting consultations with the US,” EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said on Twitter.

US President Donald Trump's administration last year slapped extra tariffs on Spain's iconic agricultural export, considering that these were indeed subsidised and sold at prices below their real value.

The EU has called the move unacceptable, but had worked behind the scenes to get Washington to back down.   

However, Brussels has “come to the conclusion that our (arguments) are falling on deaf ears with the US authorities,” said EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan.

Under WTO rules, the two sides now have 60 days to try to resolve the issues within WTO channels, before the Geneva-based trade body would be asked to arbitrate.

The US estimates that olives from Spain are sold for 16.88 percent to 25.5 percent less than their real value.

In 2017, Spain's olive exports to the United States amounted to $67.6 million. 

READ MORE: Trump hikes import tax on Spanish olives in deal to 'Make America Great Again'

US ELECTION

Trump and Biden go head to head in Spain’s bizarre Christmas tradition

The winner of the US presidential race is still not clear but across the Atlantic in Spain another battle is being fought out between Trump and Biden.

Trump and Biden go head to head in Spain’s bizarre Christmas tradition
Photos: AFP

The pair are competing to appear on top of the best seller list of this year’s caganer figurines, a bizarre Christmas tradition in the Spanish region of Catalonia.

Known as “caganers” – which translates as “poopers” or “crappers” in English –   the clay figurines area popular nativity scene decoration in Catalonia, where a defecating figure perched behind Mary and Joseph is said to symbolize fertilization, as well as bringing luck and prosperity for the year ahead.

Visit any Catalan home at Christmas and you will find what appears to be an interloper hiding among the traditional figures around the crib in the nativity scene.

Joseph and Mary will be in pride of place around the manger gazing adoringly at baby Jesus in the nativity scene or Belén that is traditionally set up in many homes at Christmas.

The three Kings will likely be in attendance, along with a group of shepherds and a set of traditional farmyard animals.

But look closer and you will spy a figure squatting with pants down, bare bottom raised over a little brown pile of poo – glance up at the face and chances are it's a figure you recognise.

There is a growing trend to purchase a new figure each year – a trend that is proving profitable for a handful of artisans who produce the figures each year.

Modern crappers represent public figures of the moment, from politicians to sporting heroes. 

Cartoon characters, literary figures and film icons can all be found on the shelves of stalls selling caganers.

No-one is above the cheeky satire that sees celebrities bare their bottoms and perform a call of nature from Queen Elizabeth II to Pope Francis.

Not surprisingly, the Donald Trump figure has been a best-seller for the last few years. And this year he is joined by a new figure in the form of presidential challenger Joe Biden.

Versions have been designed of them both with and without facemasks and of course with their trousers pulled down and their bottoms bare.

In further reference to the coronavirus pandemic, another new figure has been especially created this year.

Fernando Simón, the epidemiologist who as Spain’s health emergency chief has led the daily press conferences reporting on the evolution of the virus in Spain is expected to be among the best-sellers in 2020.


Photos: caganer.com

Figures representing healthcare workers also appear in the caganer.com catalogue in recognition of the valuable role they have played this year. 

READ ALSO:

SHOW COMMENTS