Cheese features heavily on new US tariff list

Cheese features heavily on new US tariff list

The US has issued an extensive list of products, including an array of food items, that it could hit with additional tariffs under a dispute with Europe over aircraft subsidies.

Further retaliatory tariffs amounting to around US$4bn could be imposed on goods from the European Union, according to the official trade organisation, the US Trade Representative (USTR), which has put the list out for public consultation. 

Europe has been engaged in a long-running spat with the US over subsidies paid to rival airline manufacturers Airbus and Boeing that the World Trade Organization has suggested hurts sales. The US hit the trading block with what is effectively an extra tax on European goods worth $21bn in April as the dispute drags on.

In a statement, USTR said: "The Office of the US Trade Representative is issuing for public comment a supplemental list of products that could potentially be subject to additional duties in order to enforce US rights in the World Trade Organization dispute against the European Union and certain EU member states regarding EU subsidies on large civil aircraft." 

The new list adds 89 tariff subheadings, according to the USTR, and features a host of food products ranging from cheeses and butter, frozen meats, sausages, select fruits, pasta, and olives, while coffee and whiskey are also included in the beverages category. Other items include certain metals and chemicals.

In terms of implementation, the trade body added: "In the event the Arbitrator [WTO] issues its decision prior to completion of the public comment process on the supplemental list, the USTR may immediately impose increased duties on the products included in the initial list, and take further possible actions with respect to products on the supplemental list."

Approached by just-food for a response, a spokesperson for the European Commission said the EU is prepared to react accordingly to the arbitrator's decision. 

"This is part of an internal US procedure on which the Commission has no comments to make," the spokesperson said. "As announced earlier, in the parallel Boeing dispute, the Commission is also taking the necessary steps so that the EU can promptly take action based on the arbitrator's decision on retaliation rights in this case."

However, "the EU remains open for discussions with the US, provided these are without preconditions and aim at a fair outcome".