At first they came for the Irish oatmeal, and no one spoke up…

It is an interesting question whether an administration can be judged by its parting gifts:

In its final days, the Bush administration imposed a 300 percent duty
on Roquefort, in effect closing off the U.S. market. Americans, it
declared, will no longer get to taste the creamy concoction that, in
its authentic, most glorious form, comes with an odor of wet sheep and
veins of blue mold that go perfectly with rye bread and coarse red
wine…

Besides, they said, Roquefort is only one of dozens of European luxury
products that were attacked with high tariffs. The list includes, among
other things, French truffles, Irish oatmeal, Italian sparkling water
and "fatty livers of ducks and geese," which apparently is how
Washington trade bureaucrats say foie gras.

Here is the full and sad story.

Comments

And on the flip side, the stimulus bill passed by the House has "Buy American" provisions on all iron and steel used by projects getting money from it, and the Senate bill has even more.

There are times when I feel like Senator McCain would have been more "change" from Bush.

I draw the line when politicians start messing with my food!

Tit-for-tat doesn't make any sense when it comes to trade, because tariffs harm both parties, possibly in equal measure.

...or so the story goes if one assumes that governments try to look after their citizen's interests. I think a more enlightened viewpoint would probably find tariffs to be rational decisions, but its still silly from the point of view of consumers.

Ethnic Austrian, the EU/US dispute of beef containing hormones has a long history and this is not the first time that the US government has retaliated by imposing a tariff on some "well-known" products. My comment was to highlight that the issue was the dispute about beef rather than the particular products that were affected by the tariff.
Grant, the purpose of retaliation is to force the other party to negotiate. You can bet that for US the loss of the beef market is much more important than the loss of not consuming Roquefort cheese. By focusing the tariff on a product from a well-defined region of France (as well other products with similar characteristics from other regions and countries), the US government increases the probability of eliminating the prohibition of exporting beef to EU.

Finally! It is about time someone did something about cheese. I hate how groceries stores are increasingly stunk up by the fetid odor of cheese. Take it outside I say. Out of the country is even better.

@anon- Irish Oatmeal is a high-quality steel-cut oatmeal. Once I had it I found it difficult to go back to inferior oatmeal. McCann's is the best brand (the kind you find in the tin, not a box). Delicious with a pad of butter and a pinch of salt.

It is bad enough that this is happening at all (and the Europeans are
certainly partly to blame here), but that it is going on just as we
are getting into a historically disastrous global recession (see yesterday's
IMF Survey; we are probably in for the lowest global rate of economic growth
since WW II), when, as the stimulus bills in Congress point out all too
clearly, there are major pressures building for all kinds of protectionist
outbursts that could really aggravate this badly developing situation.

How is that Tit for Tat? Beef containing hormones is banned in general in the EU, not just hormone beef from the US.

But it is banned as a way to white-wash a protectionist measure. If you want to ban U.S. beef, you find some token distinguishing feature of U.S. beef that makes it different than EU beef, then ban that. If the U.S. banned hormones in beef, the Europeans would find some other distinguishing feature to ban U.S. beef. The fact is, the Europeans are not going to allow foreign competition in agricultural products for any reason, and a lot of these "food safety" issues are manufactured by European agribuisness to protect their markets.

Irish Oatmeal is a high-quality steel-cut oatmeal.

Thanks, I know what Irish Oatmeal is. I'm just wondering why the heck that was on the list.

Seems like a way to get many more Americans pissed off than Irish oat growers and oatmeal processors.

But it is banned as a way to white-wash a protectionist measure. If you want to ban U.S. beef, you find some token distinguishing feature of U.S. beef that makes it different than EU beef, then ban that. If the U.S. banned hormones in beef, the Europeans would find some other distinguishing feature to ban U.S. beef. The fact is, the Europeans are not going to allow foreign competition in agricultural products for any reason, and a lot of these "food safety" issues are manufactured by European agribuisness to protect their markets.

How come that beef from Argentina is in every supermarket over here?

We are not talking about some natural characteristic of US beef. The european agribusiness used to use hormones themselves. That provoked a huge reaction from consumers. Everybody was opposed to the Turbokuh (turbo cow), as we called it in Germany and Austria. And so, the use of hormones was banned against the wishes of agribusiness. Steroids would actually much increase the competitivness of european cattle.

It is the US agribusiness that is fooling you, not ours us.

You can make a cui bono argument for anything. I could make a similar case that the majority of european Diesel cars are banned from the US market to protect US car makers.

From an economic perspective, I'll grant in an instant that counter-measures like these are utility-destroying. Still I have to admit to an element of Schadenfreude at any measure that upsets the "terroir", "traditional agriculture", "Jose Bove" crowd.

Are european diesel cars in any sense banned? I'd like another line explaining that.

Diesel cars will always be somewhat more pollutant than gasoline cars. That is why the EU sets slightly lower standards for diesel passenger cars. US standards, especially those in California and some other states are made with gasoline cars in mind and so only the cleanest diesels make it into the US market sometimes.

For example:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_Jetta

In North America, the diesel TDI engine was not offered in 5 U.S. states when the Mark 5 Jetta was introduced, due to the tight emission standards promulgated by the California Air Resources Board. The four other states involved opted to adopt the more stringent California standards. Where it was available, it fell into the least-restrictive emission category. That category was removed in 2007, prompting the diesel Jetta to be unavailable in that market for about a year until the introduction of a new common rail diesel engine, which appeared in August 2008. The introduction was delayed for approximately 6 months due to technical issues with the new emissions control system.[92] The TDI Clean Diesel engine is rated 140 hp, and uses advanced features such as a diesel particulate filter to reduce NOx and particulate emissions in order to qualify as a Tier II Bin 5 vehicle (equivalent to California's LEV II rating), therefore allowing it to be sold in all 50 U.S. states.

OMG, I cannot believe the evils of American capitalism. Everyone said that Obama would screw up the NAFTA and they seem to be right. If you Yanks go ahead and pass a bill to only buy American steel, our economy will be decimated and Canada might go into a really bad depression. This is so not fair. We build your shitty cars up here so why can't you buy our steel. I am worried for my family's business. Damn you, America!

"I have to admit to an element of Schadenfreude at any measure that upsets the "terroir", "traditional agriculture", "Jose Bove" crowd."

If you want to fight the War on Terroir, MR seems a strange blog to choose. Things are pretty foodie round here.

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