The US Trade Representative (USTR) has notified the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that it intends to raise tariffs on a number of European Union (EU) food exports following a hike in EU duties on brown rice imports.

Since these were raised last September, Washington and Brussels have discussed compensating the US, without success. American brown rice exports generate US$33m annually.

“We feel that the new European system is unfair,” said outgoing US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick. His office named yoghurt, processed cheese, mandarins, saffron, truffles and Brussels sprouts, as some of the EU foods attracting extra American duties from 1 March unless a last-minute agreement is struck.