Edam and Emmental hit by Trump’s EU tariffs

By Vittoria Malgioglio
Translated by Steve Rickinson

The Trump administration is imposing tariffs equivalent to 25% on various products imported from the European Union. The list of products in question includes cheese, pork, butter, mussels, pears, and more goods from the Netherlands. The list published last Wednesday by the US head of trade concerns the products on which the controversial tariffs will be placed into effect on 18 October.

The extensive list includes many kinds of cheese and dairy products that will be taxed if produced in the Netherlands. A preliminary list of tariffs included, in particular, some of the most well-known Dutch cheeses. Edam, Gouda, and any varieties will be subject to a 25% tax. However, according to the final list, only Edam and Gouda varieties produced in Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom will be affected.

Earlier this year, Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on European products. Rabobank analyst Richard Scheper said the cheese tax probably won’t harm Dutch milk exporters. According to him, the greatest damage will be felt by American consumers. This is because Dutch cheese is already an extravagance on the American market so consumers will be more willing to spend on it. In fact, Dutch cheeses are already considered expensive compared to top-selling cheeses in American supermarkets.

Last Wednesday, the WTO decided to authorize the United States to introduce tariffs on an equivalent of 7.5 billion euros of European imports. The organization concluded that Airbus had received illicit aid from various Member States of the European Union – an activity that affected the US. Now, the Trump administration can impose tariffs as a remedy for the damage.

In reality, the European Union and the United States have been fighting since 2004 on supporting large aircraft manufacturers. The EU claims that the Americans also granted state aid to Boeing. But only next year will we see a decisive verdict on this case.

In a written response, European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said that the European Union intends to deal with the United States honestly. But if the United States decides to introduce import tariffs, according to Malmström, the EU would have no choice but to do the same.

Onno Boersma of GemZu is pleased that the Dutch Edam and Gouda are not affected by American tariffs. “Perhaps it helped that the American ambassador Pete Hoekstra became an honorary waegemeester of the Gouda cheese market last summer,” he commented.


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