The specialty food industry is facing a crisis, and we need your help!
We are facing the possible enforcement of new 100% tariffs on cheeses, olives, olive oils, deli meats, pasta, and grocery items imported from the EU. These additional tariffs, which may be imposed as early as September, would have a catastrophic impact on our shop, our customers, and specialty food businesses throughout the supply chain.
We have until August 12th to take action and prevent these tariffs from going into effect. We’ve provided detailed information about the tariffs below, but if you’ve read enough and want to help, scroll down to the bottom - we’ve outlined the simple steps you can take right now!
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE PROPOSED TARIFFS:
The tariffs stem from recent escalation in the longtime dispute between Boeing and Airbus over government aid. For years, the US has sought to end EU subsidies for French aircraft manufacturer Airbus, which it believes amount to unfair competition for Boeing. In April, the Trump administration announced tariffs on over 300 categories of EU goods. In July, the US expanded the original list, which now covers an estimated 90% of European cheeses as well as olives, olive oil, cured meats, pasta, and grocery items. (Excerpt from this recent article in Modern Farmer - read more here.)
The Specialty Food Association estimates that there are approximately 14,000 specialty food retailers across the US that would be impacted by these tariffs, as well as 20,000+ other food retailers. Small and medium-sized businesses are the engine that drive the specialty food industry.
Small retailers like us would be hugely destabilized by 100% price increases on European products. Cheese sales represent nearly 40% of our annual revenue, and European cheeses comprise more than 50% of our selection. If imported cheeses double in cost, we may be unable to offer our customers the selection they have come to love: we will likely see a significant decline in sales and profit; we will see our consumer base diminish considerably, and we will be unable to retain our staff or serve our community. In short, these tariffs could put us out of business.
For US consumers like you, the enforcement of these tariffs and the damage to the specialty food industry represents yet another move away from consumer choice. The imposition of higher tariffs will disrupt existing markets, limit the products available in the marketplace, and have a disproportionate impact on lower and middle class consumers who will no longer be able to afford the European products that cost twice as much.
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO TO STOP IT:
We have until August 12th to submit public comments to the office of the US Trade Representative opposing the tariff proposal. If you believe in consumer choice, please submit a comment. If you want to protect your access to European cheeses, please submit a comment. If you want to see the survival of our shop and other specialty food businesses, please submit a comment.
We’ve made it easy for you! We’ve written a simple letter (see below), which you can either copy/paste into the comment field, or attach to the comment field as a PDF. Here are the steps to submit:
Click the blue ‘Comment Now!’ button in the upper-right corner of the page.
Copy/paste the body of the below message into the comment field.
Add a paragraph of your own, describing your perspective and your opposition to the tariffs. This part is important! Comments to the federal registrar have to be 30% unique content or else the processing software will lump them together and screen them out. Tell personal stories, discuss how this can impact jobs, local economy, your own shopping decisions, and your cities at a uniquely local level.
Enter your name, and submit! No need to provide contact info.
Ambassador Robert E. Lighthizer
U.S. Trade Representative
600 17thSt. NW Washington, DC 20508
RE: Notice of Second Public Hearing and Request for Public Comments: Enforcement of U.S. WTO Rights in Large Civil Aircraft Dispute (Docket No. USTR-2019- 0003)
Dear Ambassador Lighthizer,
Please do not allow the proposed tariffs on European goods to pass. The effects on the American specialty foods industry could be catastrophic and puts the livelihoods of many cheese professionals at risk. The tariffs in question could increase the price of imported European cheese by 100% and would have a direct negative impact on small food businesses in the U.S.
Cheese retailers operate on very thin margins with highly perishable products. They will have to raise their prices. Fewer consumers will be able to afford the cheeses, and companies may go out of business. Furthermore, tariff enforcement this fall would mean an immediate, damaging effect to the industry just in time for its busiest, most profitable holiday season.
Speaking as a consumer, I strongly oppose the additional tariffs on cheese, meats, olives, olive oil, pasta, and grocery items. I value my local cheese shop: their personalized service, specially sourced products, and family values are the cornerstones of our community. Please do not let them go out of business.