White House threatens tariffs on EU foods

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The Trump administration is threatening to impose some $4 billion in new tariffs on food products coming from the European Union.

“We’re hitting them in the stomach,” said Bill Reinsch, an international business expert with the Center for Strategic International Studies. “A lot of cheese, a lot of pasta, a lot of pork, a lot of fruit.”

Also included: whiskey.

Some have expressed worry about what the tariffs mean for your dinner table, but Reinsch wasn’t concerned.

“If we put a big tariff on French cheese, it means people will buy less French cheese. They’ll buy more American cheese. Wisconsin will be happy.”

But he said it may not go any further that a threat.

“This can only a psychological sort of leverage game to convince the Europeans that we’re serious,” he said.

The proposed tariffs an extension of a longstanding disagreement between the U.S. and E.U., with both sides accusing the other of unfairly subsidizing aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing.

“This has been going on for 15 years,” Reinsch explained. “It’s probably the longest case in the history of the (World Trade Organization).”

The World Trade Organization says both sides are guilty of not playing fair. It will decide this summer if everyone has cleaned up their act.

Without a fair deal, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says “the U.S. administration is preparing to respond immediately with countermeasures.”

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