Florida grapefruit grower and packer Dan Richey hopes a recently announced four-month suspension of tariffs on U.S. products shipped to the European Union (EU), including grapefruit, will become permanent.
The EU and the United States on March 5 agreed on the mutual four-month suspension of the tariffs related to World Trade Organization (WTO) aircraft disputes. The suspension will cover all tariffs both on aircraft as well as on non-aircraft products. “This will allow the EU and the U.S. to ease the burden on their industries and workers and focus efforts toward resolving these long-running disputes at the WTO,” stated a release from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. “The EU and the U.S. are committed to reach a comprehensive and durable negotiated solution to the aircraft disputes.”
“The news of the four-month suspension of the tariff on grapefruit shipped to the EU is welcomed news to grapefruit exporters in Florida,” said Richey, president of Riverfront Packing Company in Vero Beach. “It is our hope that during this four-month period the two parties will be able to agree to a longer-term resolution which will permanently remove these tariffs. This would allow us to begin the next season in a positive light.”
Richey continued: “The EU is a very important market for us and the tariff, which increased from 1.5% to 26.5% on Nov. 11, 2020, was devastating to our market share in the EU. We can certainly recover due to the superior quality and consumer recognition of Florida fruit throughout the EU.”
European Commission Executive Vice President and Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis called the suspension “a significant step forward.” Dombrovskis added that the suspension “marks a reset in our relationship with our biggest and economically most important partner … This suspension will help restore confidence and trust, and therefore give us the space to come to a comprehensive and long-lasting negotiated solution.”
Learn more about the tariff dispute, including an earlier reaction from Richey, here.
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