US proposes additional tariffs on EU dairy products

Published 11 April 19

The United States government has proposed placing additional import duties on a selection of EU dairy products, as part of a wider range of tariffs worth approximately $11bn. The exact value of the additional tariffs will be determined by the World Trade Organisation.

The preliminary list of targeted dairy products includes a selection of yogurt, butter and cheese trade codes, although the largest impact will be on cheese. The cheese codes cover a range of speciality European cheeses, including Cheddar. The EU exported just under 134,000 tonnes of cheese to the US in 2018, and about 75% of this volume could be affected if all the proposed tariffs are implemented. For some of the speciality cheeses affected, the US is one of the EU’s top export destinations. Additional tariffs would make it more expensive to export to the US, which could leave supplies looking for a new home.

US tariff cheeses

So why are the US proposing these tariffs? Confusingly, it’s not dairy related at all. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) recently ruled that the EU gave illegal subsidies to airplane manufacturer Airbus, giving the company an unfair advantage over others, including US-based Boeing.  Because of this, the US is allowed to impose additional tariffs on imported EU products to recover the money it is estimated to have lost out on. The proposed list of products does include aerospace items, but also a wide range of other products.