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EU promises retaliation against ag tariffs

NMPF urges Trump administration to stand with U.S. dairy farmers and resist Italy’s attempt to back off on cheese tariffs.

Following the move by the U.S. Oct. 18 to apply countermeasures against imports from the European Union in consequence of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Airbus dispute, Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said the EU will proceed forward with its own retaliation.

“We regret the choice of the U.S. to move ahead with tariffs. This step leaves us no alternative but to follow through in due course with our own tariffs in the Boeing case, where the U.S. has been found in breach of WTO rules,” Malmström said in a statement.

The EU Commission said it will monitor the impact of the announced U.S. countermeasures on the European products concerned, notably in the agricultural sector. The U.S. imposed a 25% tariff on EU goods include dairy products, French wine, pork, coffee, olives and single malt whiskey.

In a letter to the president, Randy Mooney, producer chairman of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), commended the administration for including cheeses from major EU exporters such as Italy, on the list of World Trade Organization (WTO) authorized retaliatory tariffs related to the successful U.S. case against European Airbus subsidies.

Mooney said the U.S. must reject European efforts to “deceive the United States about the reality of Transatlantic dairy trade.” Mooney stated the U.S. is running a $1.5 billion dairy trade deficit with Europe because of what he said is “unfair EU trade practices” that largely block U.S. access to the EU market, while enjoying broad access to the U.S.

“EU policies such as Italian-initiated bans on American-made parmesan, asiago and gorgonzola mean that they can ship up $1 billion in cheese each year, while U.S. cheese exports to the EU clock in at $6 million,” he said.

“In light of this disparity and the EU’s refusal to meet its WTO commitments regarding illegal Airbus subsidies, American dairy farmers saw the proposed retaliatory tariff list’s strong focus on EU dairy and cheeses as at least temporarily creating a slightly more level playing field for Made in America products that face even higher barriers to entry in the EU market,” Mooney said. “Dairy farmers are counting on the President to stand with them and resist Italy’s request that he side with the Italian farmers and cheese makers who have blocked our own great cheeses from EU store shelves.”

The EU’s Malmström explained, “Imposing tariffs on each other serves nobody's long term interest. It will inflict very significant damage to the highly integrated supply chain of the aircraft sectors in the U.S. and the EU and will result in collateral damage to many other sectors already suffering under the current trade tensions.”

“The EU and U.S. have both been found in breach of WTO rules. As the world's largest aircraft manufacturers, the EU and the U.S. have a joint responsibility to sit down and negotiate a settlement that is balanced and compliant with the WTO,” Malmström said. “The EU has, this July, shared concrete proposals with the U.S. on clearly identified existing aircraft subsidies and on future support to our respective aircraft sectors. This offer remains on the table.”

“The European Commission is committed to defending European companies, farmers and consumers,” said Malmström in a statement.


TAGS: Policy
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