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Pascrell, Wenstrup Lead 164 Members Urging Removal of Tariffs That Could Further Harm Reeling American Families and Businesses

Additional food and drink duties tied to international trade dispute

Washington, D.C., July 29, 2020

U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) and Brad Wenstrup, D.P.M. (R-OH-02) today led 164 of their Democratic and Republican Members of Congress urging U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to remove duties on food and drink imports imposed in relation to the Large Civil Aircraft Dispute before the World Trade Organization (WTO) to lower prices for American families, small business and industries already struggling during the pandemic.

“We appreciate your work to implement a thoughtful strategy that protects American interests and all the American workers harmed by illegal EU subsidies. We are disappointed that the EU continues to refuse to remove its illegal subsidies, and we encourage you to continue seeking a suitable outcome with the EU that will eliminate these subsidies and resolve this longstanding trade dispute,” the members write Ambassador Lighthizer. “In the meantime, as you consider modifications to the related retaliation list in order to maintain pressure on the EU, we urge you to make changes that include taking a targeted approach and removing duties on food and drink products as that industry is struggling during the current pandemic. Tens of millions of Americans are now out of work and businesses across America have been devastated. We hope you will update the United States’ approach in this case to eliminate unintended hardships for Americans trying to make ends meet and small businesses seeking to recover.”

The members’ letter takes on great urgency as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has put millions of Americans out of work and devastated industries. Businesses in the food, beverage, and hospitality sectors are especially vulnerable, encompassing many small and medium-sized retailers, restaurants, distributors, and manufacturers which are operating in limited or no capacity. Failure to remove these tariffs could further squeeze countless struggling small businesses and force many to shutter and eliminate jobs.

A copy of the representatives’ letter is available here, the text of which is provided below.

In addition to Reps. Pascrell and Wenstrup, the letter is also signed by Reps. Colin Allred (D-TX-24), Mark Amodei (R-NV-02), Troy Balderson (R-OH-12), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA-44), Ami Bera (D-CA-07), Jack Bergman (R-MI-01), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-01), Mike Bost (R-IL-12), Anthony Brindisi (D-NY-22), Julia Brownley (D-CA-26), Ted Budd (R-NC-13), Ken Calvert (R-CA-42), Salud O. Carbajal (D-CA-24), André Carson (D-IN-07), Kathy Castor (D-FL-14), Steve Chabot (R-OH-01), Judy Chu (D-CA-27), Steve Cohen (D-TN-09), Tom Cole (R-OK-04), Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA-11), Paul Cook (R-CA-08), J. Luis Correa (D-CA-46), Jim Costa (D-CA-16), Joe Courtney (D-CT-02), TJ Cox (D-CA-21), Charlie Crist (D-FL-13), Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28), Joe Cunningham (D-SC-01), Danny K. Davis (D-IL-07), Rodney Davis (R-IL-13), Peter A. DeFazio (D-OR-04), Diana DeGette (D-CO-01), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03), Suzan DelBene (D-WA-01), Anthony  Delgado (D-NY-19), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX-35), Mike Doyle (D-PA-18), Eliot L. Engel (D-NY-17), Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA-18), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY-13), Brian Fitzpatrick (D-PA-01), Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX-07), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ-07), Louie Gohmert (R-TX-01), Jimmy Gomez (D-CA-34), Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX-15), Paul A. Gosar D.D.S. (R-AZ-04), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-05), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ-03), Glenn Grothman (R-WI-06), Jim Hagedorn (R-MN-01), Jahana Hayes (D-CT-05), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA-03), Brian Higgins (D-NY-26), Jim Himes (D-CT-04), George Holding (D-NC-02), Steven Horsford (D-NV-04), Bill Huizenga (R-MI-02), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY-08), John Katko (R-NY-24), William R. Keating (D-MA-09), Fred Keller (R-PA-12), Ro Khanna (D-CA-17), Daniel T. Kildee (D-MI-05), Derek Kilmer (D-WA-06), Andy Kim (D-NJ-03), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL-16), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ-02), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH-02), David Kustoff (R-TN-08), Darin LaHood (R-IL-18), John B. Larson (D-CT-01), Barbara Lee (D-CA-13), Susie Lee (D-NV-03), Ted Lieu (D-CA-33), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA-47), Steven Lynch (D-MA-08), Tom Malinowski (D-NJ-07), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-12), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY-20), Lucy McBath (D-GA-06), Tom McClintock (R-CA-04), Betty McCollum (D-MN-04), A. Donald McEachin (D-VA-04), James P. McGovern (D-MA-02), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-05), Grace Meng (D-NY-06), Carol D. Miller (R-WV-03), Joseph D. Morelle (D-NY-25), Seth Moulton (D-MA-06), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL-07), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10), Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA-32), Dan Newhouse (R-WA-04), Donald Norcross (D-NJ-01), Eleanor H. Norton (D-DC), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ-01), Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ-06), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-20), Chris Pappas (D-NH-01), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ-10), Ed Perlmutter (D-CO-07),  Scott Peters (D-CA-52), Chellie Pingree (D-ME-01), David E. Price (D-NC-04), Mike Quigley (D-IL-05), Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08), Tom Reed (R-NY-23), Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA-14), Kathleen M. Rice (D-NY-04),  Tom Rice (R-SC-07), Cedric Richmond (D-LA-02), Francis Rooney (R-FL-19), Max Rose (D-NY-11), Harley Rouda (D-CA-48), David Rouzer (R-NC-07), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA-40), C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD-02), Bobby L. Rush (D-IL-01), Tim Ryan (D-OH-13), Linda T. Sanchez (D-CA-38), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA-05), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09), Bradley S. Schneider (D-IL-10), Kurt Schrader (D-OR-05), José E. Serrano (D-NY-15), Terri A. Sewell (D-AL-07), Donna E. Shalala (D-FL-27), Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ-11), Albio Sires (D-NJ-08), Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ-04), Darren Soto (D-FL-09), Greg Stanton (D-AZ-09), Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21), Greg Steube (R-FL-17), Haley M. Stevens (D-MI-11), Steve Stivers (R-OH-15), Thomas R. Suozzi (D-NY-03), Eric Swalwell (D-CA-15), Mark Takano (D-CA-41), Mike Thompson (D-CA-05), GT Thompson (R-PA-15), William Timmons (R-SC-04), Dina Titus (D-NV-01), Norma Torres (D-CA-35), Lori Trahan (D-MA-03), David Trone (D-MD-06), Michael Turner (R-OH-10), Marc Veasey (D-TX-33), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY-07), Ann Wagner (R-MO-02), Tim Walberg (R-MI-07), Jackie Walorski (R-IN-02), Michael Waltz (R-FL-06), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL-23), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12), Peter Welch (D-VT-AL), Jennifer Wexton (D-VA-10), Joe Wilson (R-SC-02), Ron Wright (R-TX-06), and Lee Zeldin (R-NY-01).

Dear Ambassador Lighthizer:

 

We write in strong support of your determination to ensure U.S. rights and interests are upheld at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the Large Civil Aircraft Dispute with the European Union (EU). We appreciate your work to implement a thoughtful strategy that protects American interests and all the American workers harmed by illegal EU subsidies. We are disappointed that the EU continues to refuse to remove its illegal subsidies, and we encourage you to continue seeking a suitable outcome with the EU that will eliminate these subsidies and resolve this longstanding trade dispute. In the meantime, as you consider modifications to the related retaliation list in order to maintain pressure on the EU, we urge you to make changes that include taking a targeted approach and removing duties on food and drink products as that industry is struggling during the current pandemic.

 

We particularly are concerned that the economic situation in our country has changed dramatically since additional duties in relation to this case were imposed in October 2019. Tens of millions of Americans are now out of work and businesses across America have been devastated. We hope you will update the United States’ approach in this case to eliminate unintended hardships for Americans trying to make ends meet and small businesses seeking to recover.

 

The economic crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly hard for the food, beverage, and hospitality industries in our country, which include many small and medium-sized retailers, restaurants, distributors, and manufacturers. For instance, many restaurants across the United States have closed their doors or are operating with limited seating capacity due to government mandates. In this environment, these businesses have minimal flexibility to raise prices. Additional duties on imported wine, spirits, and food products like fruit, pork, and olive oil cut into their already tight profit margins, further threatening the survival of these industries and the many jobs they support.

 

To help our constituents during this crisis, we urge you to remove all duties for food and drink products (HTS Subheadings 0203 through 2208) imposed in relation to this case without lowering the total value duties that can be imposed. We believe it is possible for our strategy to maintain maximum pressure on the EU to remove its subsidies case while avoiding harm to American workers, consumers, and small businesses to the greatest extent possible.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration of our request. We look forward to working with you to ensure we implement a thoughtful strategy going forward.

 

Sincerely,


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