Concerning food exports to the United States, Spain ranks 19th and has a 1% market share. The Spanish food sector has increased its sales in the North American market in recent years, reaching a value of 2,650 million USD in 2021, according to data from the USITC (United States International Trade Commission).
This means 31% more than in 2020. This improvement takes on more significance considering the difficulties in the sector: trade barriers and high transport costs due to the effects of COVID-19 and litigation that caused the increase in US tariffs to the E.U. With the exception of the 35% tariff imposed specifically on black olives due to CAP subsidies to farmers, the rest of the conflicts that affected products such as olive oil, green olives and wine stem from a business dispute between the American Boeing and the Dutch Airbus, accusing each other of having committed unfair competition thanks to the help of their respective governments.
Among Spanish food products, which accounted for 14.25% of total exports to the United States, we highlight olive oil, wine, preserved such as olives, vegetable saps and mollusks, but we can also highlight confectionery items, cheeses , preparations of legumes, vegetables and food preparations.
Olive oil exports to the U.S., the star product among Americans
Undoubtedly, the most profitable food product in the North American market is olive oil. Only surpassed by Italy, Spain is the second leading country in exports to the US. Virgin olive oil stands out (with tariff code 150910) as the most exported product.
Considering the last olive campaign (approximately from October 2021 to March 2022), data from the Census Bureau of the United States Department of Commerce reveals record records: in this period sales were 65,996 tons and exceeded the almost 227 million dollars, a 63.17% increase over the previous olive campaign. This places Spain with a 39% market share compared to major competitors such as Italy, Tunisia or Portugal.
Specifically, the best-selling products were bottled oils, exporting 27,484 tons between October 2021 and March 2022, more than 401% compared to the previous campaign. This large increase is due in part to the elimination of the 25% tariff imposed on this product by the Trump administration, effective until June of last year. On the contrary, this tariff was not applied to bulk olive oil so, despite a smaller improvement, it was 10%.
Exporting companies such as Deoleo, Aceites Abril or Dcoop are some of those affected by these tariffs, according to the ITA (International Trade Administration). With the tariff crisis over and taking advantage of the drop in sales of European competitors such as Italy, Portugal and Tunisia, the Spanish olive oil industry has decided to reinforce the image of a product “from Spain”, often associated with Hispanic or Latin American products.