SFA Voices Opposition to New Retaliatory Tariffs

The Specialty Food Association has submitted comments in a letter to the United States Trade Representative opposing additional retaliatory tariffs as part of the enforcement of U.S. WTO rights in the aircraft dispute between the U.S. and the E.U. The USTR is looking to either increase to 100 percent the existing tariffs and/or put tariffs on additional products such as chocolate, jams, pasta, pastries, coffee and baked goods. This is not the first time the SFA has spoken out against the tariffs; Phil Kafarakis, former president of the SFA, testified in person at hearings at the International Trade Commission in May and August of 2019. Comments to USTR are due by July 26, 2020.

The letter states, “These tariffs—imposed as a result of a longstanding aircraft dispute wholly unrelated to food—have already unfairly damaged the small and very small U.S. businesses that comprise the backbone of the specialty food industry. Continued or additional tariffs on specialty foods would be especially harmful to small business owners and consumers at this perilous time in our nation’s history.”

“Further punishing members of the Specialty Food Industry for a dispute unrelated to their business is unwise and unjust at a time when their small businesses, the workers they employ, and the consumers they serve are highly vulnerable,” the statement continued.

The comments concluded, “The Specialty Food Association and its more than 4,000 members strongly oppose any increase in existing tariffs and request that USTR remove tariffs on all specialty food products currently under 25 percent and 15 percent tariffs. We also request that no new specialty foods be subject to tariffs. The specialty food industry is not involved in this trade dispute between aerospace giants. Yet, to date, the specialty food industry and the consumers it serves have been unfairly burdened with the consequences of this dispute. Amid this COVID-19 pandemic, the USTR should support, not undermine, the livelihoods of the small business owners, their employees, and consumers who benefit from an affordable supply of imported specialty foods.” Read the full letter.

The SFA is encouraging its members to submit comments to the USTR. SFA Template for Submitting Comments to USTR.

For additional information or guidance on how to submit your comments, please contact Ron Tanner at rtanner@specialtyfood.com

Related: SFA Testifies About Negative Impact of TariffsSFA President Testifies Against Supplemental Trade Tariffs.

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