Trump slams specialty food importers with new tariffs

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Americans, prepare to pay more for French wine, Italian cheese and single-malt Scotch whiskey: Donald Trump just announced he will impose 25 percent tariffs on the above-mentioned favorites, as well as a host of other food and drink products. Other noteworthy items include liqueurs from Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain and England; olive oil and olives from Spain; and lots of different kinds of meat and cheese.

Per Reuters: “The main target of the U.S. tariffs is Airbus aircraft made in the EU, which face 10% levy that could hurt U.S. airlines such as Delta (DAL.N) that have billions of dollars of Airbus orders waiting to be filled. EU products winning reprieves include chocolate, Greek, French and Portuguese olive oil, helicopters, frozen fish, lobster, sparkling wine, stemware and tiles.”

Affected importers had urged Trump not to go through with the threatened tariffs, pointing out that there are few if any domestic substitutes. According to the Specialty Food Association, the impact of the tariffs will be felt by approximately 14,000 specialty food retailers and more than 20,000 other food retailers.

“It looks pretty bad,” said Ralph Hoffman, executive vice president of New Jersey-based Schuman Cheese. “They hit cheese hard.” He added that he expects his company’s imports to be reduced by as much as 30 percent going into the holiday season.

The 25 percent tariff comes on top of the 10-15 percent tariffs that are already charged on specialty cheese imports.

Trump’s official motto is “America First,” but the new tariffs, like almost everything else he does, reveal what his true principle is: “Trump First.” Robert Tobiassen, president of the National Association of Beverage Importers, explained the effect Trump’s tariffs are likely to have on the people he claims to be going to bat for.

“These tariffs will devastate, perhaps destroy, many small and medium sized family businesses importing these products into the United States,” he said.

Looks like I’ll be trading my Glenfiddich for Maker’s Mark going forward.