President Donald Trump’s trade war could soon hit European cheese and wine.
The Trump administration has proposed a 100% tariff on $25 billion of European goods, including cheeses, wine, meat, olive oil, and pasta, CNN reports.
The tariffs were proposed in response to a years-long dispute between the European Union and the United States over airplane subsidies. The EU accused the US of giving US-based Boeing unfair subsidies while the US filed a similar claim over subsidies to the Dutch planemaker Airbus.
“It's up to the World Trade Organization to determine the scope of allowable duties,” CNN reported. “A decision is expected sometime this month, and it has importers on the edge of their seats.”
100% tariffs would be ‘devastating’:
Food importers are worried the proposed tariffs will cripple their businesses.
"100% duties would be really devastating. We're going to make these items so expensive and so unmarketable we won't import them anymore," Tom Gellert, whose Gellert Global Group owns five food importers, told CNN. "The uncertainty alone is already frustrating. It's very difficult to budget when we don't know what the cost of our products is going to be.”
The Specialty Food Association said the tariffs could hit 14,000 specialty food retailers and 20,000 other food retailers.
Lou Di Palo, the owner of Di Palo’s in New York’s Little Italy, told the network that the tariffs could hit 95% of the items in his 109-year-old specialty shop.
"Products that we sell are already kind of expensive,” he explained. “For instance, Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano. These are cheeses that sell between $15 and $20 a pound. Could I get $30 and $40 a pound for this cheese? It's going to be very difficult.”
Tariffs could hurt supplies of cheese, olive oil:
“Supplies of olive oil could get low. The United States produces just about 5% of what Americans consume. A bipartisan group of lawmakers has already pleaded with the US Trade Representative's Office to reconsider imposing a tariff on the oil, ”CNN reported. “On the other hand, the tariffs may benefit American producers who make domestic versions of cheeses that are thought of as quintessentially Italian, like mozzarella and burrata. But when it comes to the cheese-obsessed, the region where it's made and the cow's or goat's milk used make all the difference.”