Italian food exports to US to drop 20 pct due to tariffs on EU products: report

Saturday, 2019-10-19 10:42:05
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Italian cheesemakers have hit out as US tariffs of 25 percent were added to exports of cheeses including Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino, Grana Padano and Gorgonzola. (Photo: AFP)
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The Italian food and agriculture sector will suffer a 20 percent drop in exports to the United States because of the new tariffs imposed by US on the European Union (EU) products, Italian farmers' association Coldiretti estimated in a report on October 18.

The United States started on October 18 to impose tariffs on European products worth US$7.5 billion, of which, according to Coldiretti, about US$500 million' worth will be related to Italy's celebrated Parmigiano Reggiano and Gorgonzola cheeses as well as cold cuts, citrus fruits, juices and liquors.

For example, the tariff on Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano cheeses will jump from US$2.15 to US$6 a kilo, meaning that US consumers will have to pay over US$45 a kilo -- up from US$40 currently -- for the celebrated cheeses, which are essential ingredients of Italian cuisine, according to the association.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella, who is on an official visit to the United States, said in a statement after his meeting with US President Donald Trump on October 16 that Italy wants negotiated solutions and "trade tensions benefit no one", adding that "We believe that mutually imposing trade tariffs is counterproductive and damaging to both our economies."

In a statement, Coldiretti President Ettore Prandini commented that "while it is important to keep the negotiation channel open, it will be necessary to act as soon as possible to boost the promotion of Italian agricultural products in third countries and to extend aid to farmers, who are at risk of being subjected to the effects of a perfect storm between US tariffs and Brexit."