NMPF Seeks Expanded Tariffs on European Dairy Products as Part of Beef Settlement

Following the European Union’s (EU) long-standing refusal to resolve a World Trade Organization dispute impeding U.S. exports of beef to the EU, NMPF urged the U.S. Trade Representative last month to add European dairy foods to the list of items that will be subject to retaliatory tariffs.

At issue is how the United States should turn up the heat on Europe for failing to comply with its trade obligations to allow the importation of American beef.  Since dairy is a major agricultural sector important to many EU member states, NMPF told the USTR last month that imposing additional retaliatory tariffs on EU cheese exports will reinforce the goal of getting the EU to comply with its commitments.

Roquefort cheese is one of the products that the USTR proposed as a target to help promote EU compliance. However, NMPF noted that the current retaliatory tariffs list is outdated, having been drawn up many years ago, and would benefit from the addition of more dairy products. NMPF recommended several cheese tariff lines that would help spur internal pressure by EU stakeholders to resolve this long-standing WTO case.

Since 1998, when the WTO determined that the EU was not complying with its WTO obligations due to unscientific bans affecting U.S. beef exports, the United States has had the WTO-sanctioned right to impose tariffs on a range of EU products amounting to $116.8 million a year. For the past several years, the United States has sought to work under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the EU to provide compensatory market access for certain types of U.S. beef exports. However, the EU’s approach to administering this MOU has not had the desired effect.

As a result, the USTR announced in late 2016 that it is reinstituting the retaliatory tariffs. NMPF wants to ensure that the EU’s reliance on exports to the United States is used strategically to have a positive impact on the EU’s compliance with its trade commitments.