Will Biden Repeal Trump’s Destructive Food Tariffs?
This week, the European Union (E.U.) announced a host of new retaliatory tariffs on nuts, fruit juices, seafood, and liquor from the United States. The tariffs, long expected, are intended to punish the U.S. for propping up flailing domestic airplane manufacturer Boeing, a practice the WTO deemed illegal.
These E.U. tariffs are the latest “tat” in a tedious, ongoing, international tit-for-tat game that has no winner. Last year, the Trump administration imposed billions of dollars in new tariffs, as I explained here, on a host of E.U. food imports, including Scotch, liqueurs, wines, pork products, cheeses, fruits, and seafood. Those tariffs, like this week’s, came in the wake of a WTO ruling—the earlier one dinged the E.U. for doling out subsidies to Airbus, the E.U. plane manufacturer that is Boeing’s chief competitor.
All these tariffs, just like earlier Trump administration tariffs targeting Chinese goods, have hurt consumers, farmers, and food producers of all sorts, at home and abroad. In the case of China, Trump’s tariffs caused China to retaliate, I explained in a 2018 column. Those tariffs “cost jobs; hurt domestic and foreign producers, consumers, and taxpayers; put the petty interests of government over those of the public; and are prone to spinning out of control.”
After President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in last week’s U.S. presidential election, farmers, consumers, and trade watchers are wondering about the likelihood Biden will improve our nation’s food policies, in no small part by rolling back those Trump tariffs. Indeed, right before last week’s election—which, like most everything in 2020, feels like it happened years ago—I outlined my hopes for a potential Biden administration’s food policies.
“I wish Joe Biden would call out the folly of Trump’s food protectionism and make the case for freer trade and the eli
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