Joe Biden and the E.U. Move To Lift Trump’s Food Tariffs
During his first presidential visit to Europe, President Joe Biden and his European Union counterparts this week hammered out an important agreement to suspend pointless retaliatory tariffs targeting a host of foods. The Washington Post called this week’s agreement, which suspends the tariffs for five years, “a significant step in calming trade relations after the fury of the Trump years.”
As I’ve detailed several times in recent years, the tariffs arose out of a longstanding dispute (and subsequent World Trade Organization rulings) over dueling subsidies doled out, respectively, by the U.S. to domestic airplane manufacturer Boeing and by the E.U. to bloc aircraft maker Airbus.
Rather than limiting that dispute to airplanes, the Trump administration and E.U. foolishly escalated and expanded the conflict. In 2019, the Trump administration, the Wall Street Journal noted this week, turned the dispute “into a tariff fight that snared food and beverage industries unrelated to aircraft manufacturing.” That tariff fight “saw tit-for-tat duties slapped on a range of companies that have nothing to do with aircraft production, from French winemakers to German cookie bakers in Europe and U.S. spirits producers in the United States, among many others,” CBS News reported.
This week’s lifting of tariffs builds on an earlier temporary agreement between the Biden administration and E.U. leaders, reached in March, that lifted tariffs on a host of foods, including wines, whiskey, cheese, olives, nuts, and cherries.
Those tariffs harmed foreign and domestic food producers and consumers alike. Their predictable negative impact has been widespread.
I was one of many to forecast, in a 2018 column, that Trump’s food tariffs would cost jobs and hurt U.S. and foreign producers, consumers, and taxpayers. Sure enough, in a column one year later on the impact of those tariffs, I noted a study published by the National Foundation for American Policy, a nonprofit that focuses on trade issue
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