NMPF calls on Trump to prioritize US dairy farmers in EU tariff battle

By Beth Newhart contact

- Last updated on GMT

“If EU countries do not want to pay those WTO-authorized retaliatory tariffs, they should spend less time complaining in Washington and more time in Brussels." Pic: Getty/Bespalyi
“If EU countries do not want to pay those WTO-authorized retaliatory tariffs, they should spend less time complaining in Washington and more time in Brussels." Pic: Getty/Bespalyi

Related tags: Trade, tariffs, Dairy farmers, Dairy farming, cheesemakers

The National Milk Producers Federation penned a letter to US President Donald Trump this week, praising and criticizing aspects of his trade deals and how they impact the dairy industry.

NMPF says in the letter that many European cheesemakers leverage EU government regulations to outlaw competition in their markets and ban US exports. The EU ships $1bn worth of cheese to the US each year while the US ships them only $6m worth.

This is largely due to various EU tariff and nontariff barriers, according to NMPF, hindering the trade of ‘accurately labeled American-made cheeses.’ NMPF called it ‘unfair treatment’ that Trump has ‘so rightfully shone a spotlight on.’

Many US dairy farmers have supported Trump for including a range of European cheeses on the World Trade Organization-authorized list of tariff retaliation. NMPF said this was prepared as part of the US WTO case against EU Airbus subsidies levied by the EU.

“We request that you put the needs of US dairy farmers above those of Italian and European farmers by maintaining the Airbus case retaliatory tariff list’s inclusion of various cheeses (including major EU priority products such as Parmigiano Reggiano from Italy), as you proposed earlier this month,”​ NMPF said in the letter.

Dairy farmers are reaching out to remind Trump to keep his word and be strong against the EU’s trade policies. NMPF acknowledges in the letter that any retaliatory tariffs will be upsetting to the EU dairy industry, but “the blame for that rests not with the US. It falls squarely on the EU for failing to comply with its WTO commitments regarding Airbus subsidies.”

“If EU countries do not want to pay those WTO-authorized retaliatory tariffs, they should spend less time complaining in Washington and more time in Brussels – urging changes to reform the EU’s trade-violating policies that unfairly penalize US companies while giving European ones an unfair leg-up over American-made products,”​ NMPF said.

At the base line, NMPF wants Trump to maintain the full range of dairy lines included on the list his Administration published this month, saying it’s the right call both then and now.

Other industries have not been as supportive, and argue that though the tariffs appear to punish the EU, it will be US importers footing the bill and trickling down to US consumers.

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