The European Union brought in $4 billion of tariffs earlier this month in retaliation for US subsidies for Boeing, the move was approved by the World Trade Organisation. The tariffs will affect a whole range of imported products, with grapefruit and sweet potatoes among them.
The EU said it still hoped to settle the fight, which saw the US impose tariffs on European products last year according to an article published in the BBC.
UK company VitaFresh Produce imports a lot of sweet potatoes from the US and is very concerned as to how the tariff will affect the price of US sweet potatoes.
“The tariffs on sweet potatoes will increase from 3% to 28%, in real terms that is approximately £1.50 on a 6Kg box. It is not achievable to add this to the price our customers pay currently,” explains Daniel Badger, managing director of Vitafresh Produce.
According to Daniel the situation has caused most importers to reduce imports from the US. “The production in the US is forecasted to be 25-30% lower this season due to weather conditions on planting the crop earlier in the year. At this time of year, a lot of the US supply goes the domestic market for Thanksgiving.
“Egypt are just finishing their season early due to rain which has caused people to look around for alternative supply as the European season is coming to an end. There will certainly be more demand from Central American counties, but this is proofing difficult because the recent hurricane has ruined some of the crop, but supply will become very limited as we move into December. We are still not sure if Brexit in January will mean the tariffs will be dropped for imports into the UK, it is all very uncertain.”
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