Collins, Sinema, Kelly Lead Bipartisan Group Urging Administration to Support U.S. Restaurants and Retailers by Removing EU Tariffs

Click HERE to read the full letter.

 

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Mark Kelly (D-AZ) led a bipartisan group of Senators in urging President Joe Biden to remove the Section 301 tariffs that have been levied on food, wine, and spirits products imported from the European Union since October 2019.  Last week, as part of a regular review, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced that tariffs will remain on these products.  The letter was also signed by Senator Angus King (I-ME).

 

“The EU 301 tariffs have been extremely harmful for restaurants, retailers, grocers, importers and distributors, many of which are small, locally owned businesses, magnifying the already catastrophic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Senators wrote.  “The tariffs have driven up the cost of higher quality products, making them much harder to sell, and thus making it much harder to entice new customers.”

 

“While we have heard from local businesses and their suppliers all over our states about the tariffs’ harm, their utility to U.S. negotiators is less obvious.  In place since October 2019, the tariffs have failed in their mission: the EU has not made serious offers in negotiations on commercial aircraft subsidies,” the Senators continued.  “Vaccine distribution has given the industry much needed cause for optimism, but several more difficult months lie ahead. Tariffs relief now, an action which requires no legislation, would invest in that optimism.”

 

In October 2019, the U.S. imposed a 25 percent tariff on $7.5 billion worth of European products following a World Trade Organization ruling that the European Union illegally subsidized Airbus.  Senator Collins previously wrote to Ambassador Lighthizer in October 2019January 2020May 2020, and August 2020 to urge the previous Administration to alleviate the economic hardship affecting Maine businesses as a result of the trade dispute.

 

According to the Maine International Trade Center, in 2018, Maine imported $769 million from the E.U. and exported nearly $370 million in goods and services, making the bloc Maine’s second-largest export market.  Hiked prices on food and beverage products from the EU, including cheese, meat, fruit, olive oil, and wine, have caused an increased financial strain on families trying to put food on their tables and restaurants trying to keep their doors open during the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

 

In addition to Senators Collins, Sinema, Kelly, and King, the letter was signed by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). 

 

Click HERE to read the full letter.