Food and Beverage industry leaders say proposed tariff could cripple Lowcountry dining

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Congressman Joe Cunningham visited Lowcountry restaurant Goat Sheep Cow on Monday to meet with local restaurateurs.

Cunningham hosted a listening event with leaders from the Food and Beverage (F&B) industry amid growing concerns about the impact of proposed tariffs on French and European Union goods.

F&B leaders from local staples including FIG, The Ordinary, and Grassroots Wine fear that the tariffs would “severely impact” the industry and are urging lawmakers to “assess the effects of [the] tariffs on the US economy.”

According to a press release by Cunningham, two separate proposals have been made to impose 100% tariffs on European cultural goods.

Both proposals relate to trade disputes, which experts say typically focus on “symbolic goods” like wine, spirits, and food- all critical to the F&B industry.

Goods targeted by the disputes include French goods like cheese and sparkling wine, as well as European goods like “cheese, wine, chocolate, olive oil, hams, clams, and Scotch.”

Members of the F&B community argue that the tariffs will not hurt European industries, but U.S. businesses, particularly those with small and medium sized supply chains.

The F&B community also argues, based on the nature of the trade disputes, that small businesses are experiencing fallout from the “battles of large multi-national companies.”

The first dispute is between the U.S. and France “in regard to France’s digital tax on U.S. digital companies like Google and Amazon.”

The second dispute, which has already led to a 25% tariff on European goods, is between Airbus and Boeing.

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