Trump urged to prevent trade war from affecting US coffee industry



Sean Higgins | Washington Examiner

The coffee industry is begging President Trump to keep imports of instant, roasted, and decaffeinated coffees out of the trade fight with the European Union over airline subsidies, warning that hundreds of companies could close if he fails to intervene.

Instant coffee in particular is favored by older, poorer Americans who voted for Trump disproportionately in 2016. A sharp price hike on instant coffee could have consequences for Trump’s reelection chances in November if it were linked to his trade policy.

Coffee companies want the tariffs waived, saying that imports of those coffee products from the EU could nearly double in price under the White House’s proposed retaliatory tariffs, a serious blow to the domestic industry, which employs 1.7 million Americans.

“Several coffee brands such as Illy and Lavazza are dependent on imports from Italy for their U.S. business,” National Coffee Association president Bill Murray told U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in a letter obtained by the Washington Examiner. “These companies distribute premium Italian-roasted coffee nationally across the United States.” He warned that a 100% tariff would force “hundreds of small businesses” dependent on these imports to shut down.

The Trump administration has placed tariffs on $7.5 billion worth of EU goods as a result of a long-running dispute over EU subsidies for Airbus. The tariffs range from 10% to 25%, but after a World Trade Organization ruling in its favor, the United States may raise the tariffs to as much as 100%. Among the tariffs the White House has said it may raise are levies on roasted, decaffeinated, and instant coffees.

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