Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Parting Shot

It looks like now ex-President George Bush gave a parting shot at the EU and American foodies. He increased the tariff on Roquefort cheese by 300%. That's rough. And it's a decision that will probably be allowed to stand by the incoming Obama regime.

ROQUEFORT, France (AFP) — People in the southern French district of Lozeyron are having a hard time swallowing US President George W. Bush's parting gift:a tripling to 300 percent in import duty on their world-famous Roquefort cheese.

"Tonnes of produce are going to go up in smoke," protested one of the seven local producers of the distinctive soft blue cheese. It was a hammer blow to the local region, he said.

The swingeing tariff increase, part of a longstanding trade row between the United States and the European Union, has effectively priced them out of the US market, say producers.

"The aim of the Americans is that there is not a gram of Roquefort sold in the United States," said Philippe le Guen, who handles sales at Papillon, one of the best-known brands of the cheese.

His mark alone accounts for nearly 10 percent of total production, exporting 50 tonnes of Roquefort to the United States of a total 1,700 tonnes produced.

And with the world economy in trouble this latest US move has raised the spectre of a trade war.

As a fan of Roquefort cheese I must say that I am dismayed by this blatant attack on the free market and free trade. I guess I'll just venture out and get a taste of the current stocks before they run out. It's a sad day in Foodville.

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