EFFAT, the European Federation of Food Agriculture and Tourism trade unions, is deeply concerned by the US decision to impose a 25% tariffs on several EU agri food products.
Following a 15 years long legal dispute over subsidies given by European Governments to Airbus, as of 18 October, the World Trade Organisation authorised retaliatory tariffs worth up to $7.5bn (€6.8bn) of many imported goods.
The tariffs foreseen would impose 25% punitive duties on the production of many food products with drastic potential consequences on many workers employed in the EFFAT sectors. Several Italian cheeses, Spanish olive oil, French wine, Irish whiskey are only some of the goods concerned.
With 10 and 4,5 million workers respectively, agriculture and food and drink sectors are some of the largest employing sectors in Europe. The US are a market of primarily importance for the export of EU agro-food products.
Only in Italy the export of Parmigiano Reggiano, and Gran Padano, included in the list of affected products, amounted to 150 mln euros in 2018. With a 25% duties, unsold quantity would make internal price collapse affecting almost 100.000 employed in the supply chain and related industry.
With data on Spanish exports to the U.S. in 2018 and the list of products affected, it is estimated that tariffs will be imposed on Spanish products that are worth nearly 1,000 million euros. More than half, 560 million, correspond to the olive sector, the most affected, between virgin and non-virgin olive oils and canned olives; a branch employing more than 13000 workers. 
Harald Wiedenhofer, EFFAT General Secretary, commenting on the WTO decision said “US tariffs may affect seriously quality food production as well as most vulnerable actors involved in the food supply chain of important European agro-food products. Protectionism is never a solution and it is bad for the economy and bad for the workers. There are no winners in trade wars. Just losers.”
In light of the above:
- EFFAT expresses its concerns over the negative repercussions of this imposition over the job stability for millions of European small farmers and workers who have nothing to do with this trade war.
- EFFAT urges the EU to take immediate action to compensate the sectors potentially affected by US tariffs. Most vulnerable actors as small farmers and workers employed in the food and agriculture sectors are already paying the consequences of the Russian ban.
- EFFAT reaffirms its support to a free yet fair trade that harms no workers on both sides of the Atlantic.
- Finally, EFFAT urges that the EU and US issues related to the EU Subsidies to airbus are handled via negotiations and not through punitive measures