Biden Asked to Reverse Food Trade Policy

Jan. 28, 2021
Trade groups for various food sectors are jockeying to have the new presidential administration alter American trade policy in a way favorable to them.

Trade groups for various food sectors are jockeying to have the new presidential administration alter American trade policy in a way favorable to them – whether eliminating tariffs or increasing them.

The Trump administration engaged in trade tiffs, with China, Europe and other regions, that made things more difficult for farmers, exporters, importers and others. Different trade groups are hoping that the Biden administration will reverse those policies.

One focus is a spat with the European Union over governmental subsidies to aircraft manufacturers that resulted in large tariffs in imported wine, brandy and other alcohol, as well as other food products. The Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. has asked for that to be rescinded, after having no success under Trump.

That council was one of 72 signatories to a letter sent to both President Biden and EU president Ursula von der Leyen asking for the aircraft-related tariffs to be eliminated. “Removal of these tariffs will provide the positive momentum to reset the important bilateral relationship and cooperative efforts to address global economic challenges,” the letter says.

Conversely, blueberry growers are advocating for protection against what they call a flood of imports from Canada, Mexico and South America. The CEO of R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America) sent a letter to the U.S. International Trade Commission asking it to recognize “the serious injury affecting domestic blueberry growers,” although it did not explicitly suggest tariffs.

“Domestic blueberry growers should be reaping the benefits of the growing U.S. market even as they share it with imports. Instead, family farmers, suppliers, and local communities are being seriously injured as domestic blueberries compete with imports from countries that have lower food safety, labor, and environmental standards,” the letter says. It was signed by 21 other organizations, many of them having to do with beef or cattle. The letter noted that the meat industry shares many concerns with blueberry growers, including “foreign competition with unfair differentials in wages and regulatory regimes.”

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