Retailers Warn EU Tariffs Will Tax American Pantries

Today, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) Vice President of International Trade Hun Quach, will testify before the 301 Committee, an interagency group comprised of several federal agencies, as part of public hearings on the Trump Administration's proposed implementation of up to a 100 percent tariff on goods imported from the European Union and certain member States. The proposed tariffs are in response to, “EU subsidies to Airbus that have caused adverse effects to the United States.” While RILA supports holding its trading partners accountable, the Association believes tariffs on American family staples are not the answer. Many of the products included on this list are everyday items that stock American pantries and fill family kitchens. 

“As we’ve seen over the past year, placing tariffs on imported goods from countries like China has led to increased prices and business uncertainty. It is American consumers and our heartland that has borne the brunt of America’s global trade war. Whether in the form of retaliatory tariffs on our farmers or higher prices for consumers, the stakes are high, and the casualties are many. Unilaterally applying up to a 100 percent tariff on more than 300 HTS codes covering dozens of consumer products from the EU would continue to hit American families hardest,” Quach told the committee.

“Tariffs are taxes, period. And Americans’ pantries are the next targets. Many of the products on this proposed list are household staples. For example, a cooking essential — olive oil — is on the proposed list… The EU supplies a significant amount of the olive oil used in American homes and restaurants, hitting middle-class American families and the main street businesses that feed them. In addition to olive oil, other food products like healthy seafoods such as salmon and herring, which provide a protein rich and affordable source of food for Americans, are included. Family favorite cookies and biscuits, in addition to a variety of popular jams, are also on the Administration’s list to be assessed a tariff of up to 100 percent.”

“Because of our strong trading relationship with the EU, retailers have made many of these products more accessible and affordable to American families. These tariffs could pose a threat to that availability and affordability,” said Quach. 

Quach closed out her testimony by imploring the Administration to move American families out of the cross-hairs while the U.S. and EU work towards negotiating a settlement and restating the Association’s commitment to help find a solution to the ongoing global trade war. 

To read a copy of RILA’s full testimony, click here


RILA is the US trade association for leading retailers. We convene decision-makers, advocate for the industry, and promote operational excellence and innovation. Our aim is to elevate a dynamic industry by transforming the environment in which retailers operate.

RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs, and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

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