Trump administration to enact new tariffs on popular imported foods

New government-imposed tariffs on select goods are set to make holiday dinner parties more expensive.
These foods are about to get pricier
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/ Source: TODAY
By Aly Walansky

These days, bottles of Spanish olive oil, French wines and Italian cheeses have become as easy to find in many American markets as, well, American cheese.

But soon, some beloved European items are going to be significantly more expensive.

The U.S. government has just approved new tariffs on dozens of imported products in response to the accusation that the E.U. has been subsidizing the aircraft manufacturer Airbus. The Trump administration claims this practice has been damaging to U.S.-based companies like Boeing.

While this debate has been ongoing for years, on Wednesday the World Trade Organization agreed America has a point — and that’s where these new tariffs come in.

This week, the government posted a document listing the many items that will be affected, including everything from cheeses to pork products, olives and Scotch whisky. Depending on the good, the tax imposed will be 10%-25% of the item's price. France, the United Kingdom, Spain and Germany will be hit the hardest, but items from several smaller nations such as Luxembourg, Denmark and Slovenia will also be affected.

Here's a closer look at some of the main imports that will be subjected to new tariffs later this month.

1. Olive oil and olives

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Spanish olive oils, as well as table olives from France and Spain, are facing tariffs. However, the government has spared olive products from Italy and Greece. Pitted olives, olives in their brine, olive oils and more will be subjected to a 25% tariff.

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2. A lot of cheeses

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Just as cheese plate-season kicks into high gear, cheese shops may very likely be raising their prices to make up for the new import costs. Cheeses from dozens of countries will be subjected to a 25% tariff, so whether you prefer a mild Italian mozzarella or a more pungent French staple, be prepared to dole out more cash for the good stinky stuff.

Beloved Italian cheeses like pecorino and Parmesan are taking a hit as well, which will likely impact how many restaurants do business or price certain dishes in the near future.

3. Butter and yogurt

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Irish butter is becoming incredibly popular in the U.S., but it's set to become much pricier. “Any new trade tariff is an unwelcome barrier to doing business and will have a significant cost impact on our business,” Ornua, the maker of Ireland's Kerrygold butter, said in a statement.

Yogurt, other dairy spreads, creams and different types of fermented milk products from Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece and dozens of other countries will be subject to a 25% tariff.

4. Irish whiskey and Scottish whisky

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Getting into the holiday spirit with your favorite spirit will also set you back a pretty penny. All single-malt whisky imports from Scotland, as well as imports of whiskey from Ireland, will be affected by the new rule. Since many of these bottles are already very expensive, the tariff may make the final price prohibitively expensive for a lot of consumers.

You also may want to stock up on French wine, because that's being taxed, too.

5. Cookies and biscuits

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British sweet biscuits, a famous favorite of Queen Elizabeth's, along with waffles and wafers, are also being taxed. This somewhat specific ordinance also applies to the same treats from Germany.

Certain pork products, frozen meats, dried fruits, cordials and fruit juices from dozens of countries will be affected. In addition to foods, the tariffs will also be applicable to cashmere sweaters, select printed books and pictures, swimwear, certain tools and bed linens. These new tariffs are scheduled to begin on Oct. 18, but both the E.U. and the U.S. have stated they are open to negotiating a settlement.

Meanwhile, retailers and representatives from different food industry groups have warned about the potentially harmful effects the tariffs will have on the economy.

“It will certainly impact food and inventory costs for all restaurants — not just fine dining. Cheese products used as common food toppings, parmesan, blue cheese, are already pricey and perishable," Tim Powell, managing principal at the food consultancy group Foodservice IP, told Nation’s Restaurant News. While businesses will ultimately decide how to enact any price adjustments, Powell said he believes that "distributors will clearly pass those 15% to 25% premiums" on to the consumer.

"Bars and taverns serving Scotch and any other wines will certainly see declines in profit margins — these are usually how restaurants can increase profits when food is static," he said.

Customers who once opted for imported goods may turn to American-made items, which may have a significant impact on several European producers.