It will be billed as a boon to American artesian makers of high quality and premium foods, but for those who consume Old World olive oil, cheeses, wine and more, the prices may soon put such staples into luxury territory.
In a move that is unmistakable in its blunt force nuance of foreign policy and an expression of displeasure from the White House, word has drifted out to the swamp that imported foods from places like Italy and France are in the tariff crosshairs.
The Trump administration has proposed a tariff of up to 100% on $25 billion in European items. Romano, Parmesan, provolone and Gouda are all on the list. But it’s not just cheese. The tariff is proposed to hit a variety of items that pair well with cheese, as well — like wines and meats, olive oil, olives and pasta.
Twenty-five billion is not the most that the Trump administration has targeted, but it is still nothing to sneeze at. And, frankly, American counterparts in these products can be of lesser quality, hence the higher sales.
The thing, is, though, just like China and just about every other economy on earth, the Europeans really do need the income from these sales. Hence, the stick to the carrot to get the nations of Europe to see things the American way on some issue or another currently being negotiated behind the scenes, although CNN seems to believe the staff there has the answer to that question.
The kicker for Di Palo and other importers is that the trade dispute has nothing to do with food. Instead, it’s part of a 15-year-long issue over subsidies for aircraft makers Boeing and Airbus. Both the US and the EU have been found at fault — and both are threatening tariffs on a wide range of other goods in retaliation. It’s up to the World Trade Organization to determine the scope of allowable duties. A decision is expected sometime this month, and it has importers on the edge of their seats.
It’s not just the importers that are nervous. A good number of Americans who are used to getting imported goods inexpensively are going to be watching this as well.