The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office (USTR) should slap tariffs on dairy shipments from Europe in response to the $11 billion in damage EU Airbus subsidies caused the United States, National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern said today in testimony before a USTR panel.
The World Trade Organization recently found that Europe’s large civil aircraft subsidies were against international trade rules and permitted the United States to levy duties on EU products until Europe comes into compliance.
“We have a unique opportunity to make a big dent in the dairy market access gap we face with Europe. Including EU cheeses, yogurt, and butter on this list, as USTR has proposed, is entirely warranted, and we would encourage you to add additional EU dairy-related tariff lines,” Mulhern said. Doing so “would bring increased attention to the gross inequities that currently define our dairy trading relationship,” he said.
The United States is currently running a $1.6 billion dairy trade deficit with Europe. A complex web of EU tariffs and nontariff obstacles are to blame, Mulhern said.
“Simply put, we are largely being blocked from the EU market despite being a trusted and proven dairy supplier to the rest of the world,” he said, singling out Europe’s use of Geographic Indication requirements that target common products carrying geographic names like parmesan, feta, and muenster cheeses. Europe blocks sales of these everyday products from the United States and is aggressively pressuring other countries to do the same.
“It is essential that America deliver a clear and powerful message across the pond,” Mulhern said. “Subsidies and barriers that handicap U.S. businesses in the global marketplace will not be tolerated. And the days of trade deficits induced by unfair trade practices are coming to an end.”