A bipartisan group of United States lawmakers have urged the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office not to impose new tariffs on olive oil imported from the European Union. These lawmakers warn the tariffs could lead to an olive oil shortage and skyrocketing prices in the U.S.
European Union olive oil could face as high as 100 percent tariffs as Washington waits for the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) decision on a long list of retaliatory tariffs on E.U. goods. The tariffs are the result of the 15-year-long dispute over E.U. subsidies to Airbus, which the WTO rules were improper.
The bipartisan group of 14 Democratic and five Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives has warned that without E.U. olive oil, the U.S. cannot meet current consumer demand. Domestic olive oil production fills just five percent of demand in the U.S. market.
The group is led by Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) and Jodey Arrington (R-Texas). They warned that these measures would create a massive shortfall, which could be as much as 30 percent of current consumer demand or 100,000 tons of olive oil.
The shortage would raise prices, which would negatively impact American food retailers, manufacturers and restaurants. The lawmakers also cited their concerns about skyrocketing prices and a shortage of olive oil.
“Without European imports of olive oil, the United States cannot meet current consumer demand,” Pascrell and Arrington wrote in the letter. “Large price increases can push many consumers and food manufacturers to choose food oils that lack the health qualities of olive oil.”