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NMPF Highlights Long-Term Issues as EU Escalates Trade Dispute

December 1, 2020

NMPF was quick to respond to the European Union’s (EU) escalation of a dispute over its World Trade Organization (WTO)-incompliant aircraft subsidies last month by imposing retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agriculture exports, including cheese.

NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern swiftly issued a statement that took Europe to task for failing to come into compliance and highlighted the important role that U.S. retaliatory tariffs against EU dairy products continue to play in bringing Europe to the table.

“One of the most egregious of [Europe’s unjustified trade] tactics is the EU’s misuse of geographical indications (GIs) to ban the U.S. from selling cheeses with common names, such as asiago, feta or parmesan,” Mulhern said. “We commend USTR’s continued maintenance of GI cheeses on the WTO-authorized list of tariff retaliation as these tariffs help to temporarily level the playing field for U.S. producers.”

NMPF also signed on to a coalition letter sent to USTR, organized by Farmers for Free Trade and the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, and worked with USDEC to help shape the letter’s messaging to emphasize the long-term issues that have hindered U.S. exports to the EU. The letter urged USTR to uproot the “unfounded EU non-tariff barriers that impede the American food and agriculture sector’s ability to fully realize the potential opportunities in the EU.” EU trade barriers have generated a gaping dairy trade deficit with the EU of roughly $1.5B.