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Cheese Importers Association of America Says Current 25% Tariffs On EU Cheese Imports Causing ‘Severe Harm’

The Section 301 25 percent tariffs currently being imposed on cheeses from European Union (EU) countries subject to the Airbus proceeding “are causing severe harm throughout the entire supply chain,” resulting in job losses and reduced product availability for US consumers, according to the Cheese Importers Association of America (CIAA).

The CIAA made its observation in comments submitted Monday to the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR).

The US began applying WTO-approved tariffs on certain EU goods, including numerous cheese and other dairy products, starting on Oct. 18, 2019.
Although USTR has the authority to apply a 100 percent tariff on affected products, currently the tariff increases are limited to 25 percent on cheese and dairy, agricultural and other products.

In December, the USTR published a request for comments that included two annexes. Annex I contains a list of products currently subject to additional duties, including numerous cheese and other dairy products; and Annex II contains a list of dairy and other products, originally published in April and July notices in the Airbus dispute, under consideration for the imposition of additional duties of up to 100 percent.

The USTR requested comments with respect to whether products listed in Annex I should be removed from the list or remain on the list; whether the rate of additional duty on specific products should be increased up to 100 percent; whether additional duties should be imposed on specific products listed in Annex II, and on the rate of additional duty to be applied to products drawn from Annex II.

The CIAA requested that USTR no longer impose Section 301 duties on tariff subheadings related to cheeses due to the Airbus dispute.

The impact of those 25 percent tariffs on US cheese importers “is especially great as importers normally pay a tariff that ranges between 6.4 percent and 25 percent,” the CIAA noted. Due to the additional Section 301 duties, cheese importers are paying tariffs that are closer to 31.4 percent to 50 percent.

Prior to implementation of these tariffs, imported cheeses from the EU generated over $3 billion annually in revenues for US companies across the supply chain, including importers, dis.”

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