Tag Archives: Government Assistance / Grants

Rates for Wine, Food from Europe for the Current Stay, said the US | Instant News


WASHINGTON – The Biden government has said it will not end tariffs on European wine, cheese and other food imports any time soon – upsetting industry groups who say the levy is hurting US restaurants and consumers.

The US Trade Representative’s Office said on Friday that there was no need for now to suspend levies, which the Trump administration imposed as part of a long-running dispute with the European Union over subsidies for commercial aircraft.

In a regulatory filing, the USTR said it would “continue to consider the actions taken in the investigation,” referring to a 17-year-old dispute about how the government is subsidizing Boeing Co. and Airbus SE. The Biden administration said it was reviewing tariffs and other major trade policy measures adopted by the previous administration.

Under the Trump administration, the dispute has turned into a tariff fight that has ensnared a food and beverage industry unrelated to aircraft manufacturing. Washington imposed tariffs on $ 7.5 billion worth of European wine and food such as cheese and olives by the end of 2019.

The European Union retaliated with levies on US whiskey, nuts and tobacco worth an estimated $ 4.5 billion. The US increased sanctions on December 31 with additional tariffs, putting nearly all wine imports from France and Germany below 25%.

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Italian Government Prays About How to Revive the Post-Covid-19 Economy | Instant News


ROME – Amid the pandemic, one sign of normality is returning to Italy: political instability.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s government is struggling to avoid collapse after members of a small coalition threatened to withdraw vital support from parliament. The Viva Italia party, led by former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, has long been skeptical of Conte’s leadership and is increasing pressure on a range of issues, including how to reconstruct Italy’s economy hit after the pandemic.

If Renzi pulls out of the coalition, forcing Conte to step down, possible outcomes range from a new government with the same center-left leader to elections likely to be won by a rival center-right alliance.

Many observers expect Mr Conte to continue, albeit with a small party Mr Renzi has had more leverage. Whatever the outcome, the tussle suggests that Italy’s shocking political stability during the pandemic is coming to an end.

Mr. Conte, a little-known law professor who was elected to lead two rickety coalition governments in 2018 and 2019, has been an unexpectedly powerful prime minister since last year, when Italy became the first Western country hardest hit by Covid-19. His approval ratings rose as he worked with allies and opposition parties to arrange for the first nationwide lockdown, using stringent measures that were soon adopted around the world.

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US to target more French, German, alcoholic drinks at 25% rate | Instant News


WASHINGTON – The Trump administration has said it will target more French and German wines and spirits at 25% tariffs starting January 12, in the latest escalation in the tit-for-tat tariff battle over a long-running dispute over subsidies for commercial jet airliners.

Among the new levies, the US will for the first time impose a 25% levy on wine from France and Germany in excess of the 14% alcohol it had previously exempted, according to the Office of the US Trade Representative.

The US has seen a spike in these highly alcoholic wines, typically from Spain and France, after wines with 14% alcohol or less were charged last year.

“Especially with what is happening in light of the pandemic, with the closure of restaurants and refineries, this is not the right time to enter an industry that is already facing economic impact,” Christine LoCascio, head of public policy for the US Council’s Distilled Spirits, said Thursday.

Washington imposed a 25% tariff on wines from France, Spain, Germany and the UK in October 2019 in retaliation for subsidies they made to European aircraft maker Airbus SE.
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on the grounds that they hurt Boeing Co.
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An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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More Wine Tariffs Applied in France and Germany by the US | Instant News


WASHINGTON – The Trump administration has said it will target more French and German wines and spirits at 25% tariffs starting January 12, in the latest escalation in a tit-for-tat tariff war related to a long-running dispute over subsidies for commercial jet airliners.

Among the new levies, the US will for the first time impose a 25% levy on wine from France and Germany in excess of the 14% alcohol it had previously exempted, according to the Office of the US Trade Representative.

The US has seen this surge in high alcoholic wines, typically from Spain and France, after wine with alcohol of 14% or less the tariff is charged last year.

“Especially with what is happening in light of the pandemic, with the closure of restaurants and refineries, this is not the right time to enter an industry that is already facing economic impact,” Christine LoCascio, head of public policy for the US Council’s Distilled Spirits, said Thursday.

Washington imposed a 25% tariff on wines from France, Spain, Germany and the UK in October 2019 in retaliation for subsidies they made to European aircraft manufacturers.

Airbus

SE, arguing they were hurt

Boeing Together.

Other items that will be subject to the new tariffs are premium cognacs priced at $ 38 per liter and up, and some aircraft-building parts, both from France and Germany. High alcoholic wines from Spain and England are not added to the latest list.

USTR said in its regulatory filing that the additional tariffs targeted products from France and Germany because the two countries had provided the largest levels of subsidies that were incompatible with WTO rules.

The US and EU have long been at odds over what each claims are unfair government subsidies to commercial aircraft manufacturers: Airbus in Europe and Boeing in the US

A battle has recently occurred over tit-for-tat tariffs on consumer products.


“These tariffs are destroying US restaurants and small businesses at the worst of times.”


– Ben Aneff, US Wine Trade Alliance

In October 2019, the US imposed tariffs on $ 7.5 billion worth of products for wine, cheese and other products from Europe. In retaliation, the European Union announced tariffs last month on $ 4 billion worth of US products, including Boeing jets, alcoholic beverages, and tobacco.

USTR said Wednesday in a press release that the latest additions to its tariff list came as the US made adjustments after the two sides used different reference periods for trade data to determine which products the tariffs would cover.

USTR said that while the US used data for the previous calendar year, the EU was using a period in which trade was drastically reduced due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

That allows Europe to impose tariffs on “substantially more product” than it could do under the calendar year method, the USTR said. After the EU refused to change its approach, USTR said it decided to change its own reference period and add more products. The additions will not change the total value of the $ 7.5 billion worth of products subject to tariffs, USTR said.

An EU spokesman said the choice of reference period for EU tariff measures was based on the latest available trade data in line with long-standing WTO practices. The spokesman said Washington was “unilaterally disrupting” ongoing bilateral negotiations to find a resolution to the plane dispute.

“The European Union will engage with the new US administration as soon as possible to continue these negotiations and find a lasting solution to the dispute,” he said.

The escalation in the tariff fight highlights challenges in trade relations between the US and the EU, even as European officials call for improving ties under the upcoming administration. The digital tax imposed on US technology companies by France has been a significant cause of tension. European Union signing of an investment agreement with China This week has attracted attention among US trade officials as they seek European cooperation against China.

The tariff impact is very significant. Wine imports from France fell 54% in the first five months of 2020 from a year earlier, while those from Germany fell 42%, according to the US Wine Trade Alliance.

“These tariffs are destroying US restaurants and small businesses at the worst of times,” Ben Aneff, group president. “This underscores how important it is for President-elect Biden to immediately lift restaurant tariffs, and find ways to more effectively influence the EU while reducing damage to businesses at home.”

Write to Yuka Hayashi on [email protected]

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Biden’s Choice for USDA Throws Tom Vilsack Back In Food Policy Battle | Instant News


presidential election

Joe BidenThis week’s selection from former US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to head of the agency once again knocked known Agriculture Belt policymakers to lead a department critical to helping farmers and starving Americans survive the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Vilsack led the USDA through President Barack Obama’s two terms and has a fascination with agriculture and food constituents. He also has an established relationship with Mr Biden, establishing Mr Vilsack as a veteran agricultural official who, if confirmed, could immediately take over the sprawling body, according to a transition spokesman.

Mr Vilsack’s choice drew praise and criticism from agriculture and food security groups, signaling the battle ahead for the agency as it guides farmers and consumers get out of the pandemic.

“The challenges are astounding,” said Andrew Novaković, a Cornell University emeritus professor of agricultural economics who worked for the USDA during Mr’s tenure. Vilsack.

Joe Biden appears in Newton, Iowa, with Tom Vilsack, who served as state governor for eight years, during campaign events in January.


Photo:

fresh mike / Reuters

The USDA, with a 2020 budget of around $ 153 billion, leads nearly every aspect of the country’s food production. It regulates genetically modified seeds, guarantees farmers’ crops, promotes agricultural exports and inspects slaughterhouses.

The USDA also oversees the way Americans eat, helps set US dietary guidelines and administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, previously administered through food stamps. Biden is facing pressure from some consumer groups to elect someone with a focus on food aid after the pandemic sent US unemployment to the highest level since World War II and the family gathered at the food bank across the country.

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“Secretary Vilsack’s proven track record of prioritizing federal nutrition programs and supporting US farmers and producers will be critical in helping today’s injured communities,” said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, chief executive of the hunger aid organization Feeding America. Mr. Vilsack serves on the board of directors of his national office following his tenure with the USDA.

However, the farmer and workers organization Family Farm Action says Mr Vilsack has a record of serving large agricultural and food companies, raising questions about how he will give priority to struggling communities.

Vilsack is committed to promoting equality and inclusion across all agency missions, said transition spokesman Biden.

Since early 2017 Mr Vilsack has been the chief executive of the US Dairy Exports Council, a farmer-funded group. Returning to the USDA would make Mr Vilsack the second longest-serving secretary in agency history.

Mr. Vilsack, 69, was born in an orphanage and adopted in 1951. A native of Pittsburgh, he practices law in Mount Pleasant, Iowa and serves as mayor of the city and in the Iowa state senate. Mr. Vilsack then served as governor of Iowa for eight years, resigning in 2007.

As secretary, Mr Vilsack will face the task of shoring up the US agricultural sector. When he left the USDA in early 2017, the US agricultural economy is in decline, with farm net income down 40% from a record high four years earlier as consecutive crops swelled supply and lowered prices.

Since then, agricultural markets have taken a hit during President Trump’s trade battles with China, Mexico and Canada, leading the Trump administration to increase government payments to farmers to historical highs.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited a biofuel farm in Urbana, Illinois, in 2015.


Photo:

John Dixon / Associated Press

In a September interview, Vilsack said the US agriculture sector’s current reliance on government assistance to tackle disruptions from the trade dispute and the Covid-19 pandemic shows the need for new policies that support a tougher agricultural sector.

“I think most farmers don’t want government payments,” said Mr Vilsack, who was then Biden’s campaign adviser.

Mr Novaković, professor emeritus, said the USDA often does not have direct control over policy decisions that touch on some of the most difficult topics facing agriculture, such as trade, labor and climate change. “This is where a personal relationship with Joe Biden can be very helpful,” he said.

Mr Vilsack said in September that under the Biden administration, the USDA could regulate regional food supply markets and direct federal incentives to farmers who adopt climate-friendly practices.

Farmer groups representing corn and soybean producers as well as meat packers and organic farmers welcomed Mr. Vilsack’s choice. They said previous leadership at the agency would help farmers cope with the pandemic.

Groups representing minority farmers and food chain workers say they worry how much Mr Vilsack will do to advance their cause, pointing to past criticism of body treatment of minority groups.

A Biden transition spokesman said Mr Vilsack during his tenure at the USDA increased lending to disadvantaged farmers, and was committed to recognizing and eliminating discriminatory practices.

John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association, which campaigns for Mr. Biden and works with his transition team, said, “I want someone new.”

Write to Jesse Newman at [email protected] and Jacob Bunge at [email protected]

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