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European tariffs could raise cost of many restaurant supplies

Imports ranging from whiskey to cheese would be subject to a 25% surcharge.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Restaurants are likely to see a sharp increase in the cost of many foods imported from Italy, Spain, Greece and other European Union (EU) nations if protective U.S. tariffs are adopted as planned on Oct. 18.

The list of foods subject to the 25% import duties range from single-malt scotch to olives, Spanish olive oil, Irish whiskies, lemons, many wines and a wide variety of cheeses. Italian wines, olive oils and pastas are among the products that are exempted.

The fees were proposed by the Trump administration in retaliation for the EU’s subsidization of Airbus, a European airplane manufacturer that competes with Boeing and other U.S. aerospace companies. The World Trade Organization (WTO) issued a finding Wednesday that the subsidies violate its regulations governing international commerce and that the U.S. is entitled to levy tariffs on $7.5 billion of EU goods as retribution.

U.S. trade officials have set Oct. 18 as the day the tariffs will go into effect. But they left open the possibility of seeking another resolution. “We expect to enter into negotiations with the European Union aimed at resolving this issue in a way that will benefit American workers,”  U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement.

A full list of the foods and other goods subject to the tariff can be found here

The tariffs would come after years of relative stability in restaurants’ food costs.

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