It was an announcement that sent chills down the spine of cheese-lovers all over the country. Back in January, the U.S. Trade Office instituted a steep hike in food tariffs
on specific European products—imposing an incredible 300% tax on Roquefort cheese, along with 100% tariffs on French chestnuts, fruit jams, Italian mineral waters such as San Pellegrino, and more.
The move came in response to a twenty-year EU ban on beef from hormone-treated cattle, a position led by the French. American trade officials feel that the ban is an unreasonable protectionist measure, with no scientific or health-related justification, aimed at keeping American cow products from the market. So in retaliation, the Trade Office raised taxes on particular food imports to a level that would drive them out of the American market. The price of Roquefort, for example, would inevitably triple—rendering it prohibitively expensive for nearly all American sellers and consumers.
But in a sign of progress, the date for this tariff hike has been pushed back, and then eliminated altogether. Trade Representative Ron Kirk stated that the EU “has demonstrated seriousness in their efforts to solve this problem,” Kirk , citing real progress in recent negotiations,
and provisionally eliminating the tariff
. It's not a done deal—but there may be hope for fromage