Trade wars are easy to win. Everyone knows that. All you do is raise tariffs, and then if that doesn’t work or your opponent retaliates, you just raise ‘em again. Lather, rinse, repeat until golden statues 100 feet tall are being erected in your likeness. What could possibly go wrong!
Others, like the United States coffee industry, aren’t so convinced. As Trump’s trade war with the European Union continues to escalate, the US coffee industry is “begging President Trump to keep imports of instant, roasted, and decaffeinated coffees out of the trade fight.”
As reported by the Washington Examiner, the current trade war stems from a “long-running dispute over EU subsidies for Airbus,” with the Trump administration levying a total $7.5 billion in tariffs on goods from EU nations. Those tariffs are currently in the 10-25% range, but the US government is considering a bigly increase, up to 100%. Now many in the coffee industry are asking for those tariffs to be waived, as they will deal “a serious blow to the domestic industry.”
“Several coffee brands such as Illy and Lavazza are dependent on imports from Italy for their U.S. business,” National Coffee Association president Bill Murray told U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in a letter obtained by the Washington Examiner. “These companies distribute premium Italian-roasted coffee nationally across the United States.” He warned that a 100% tariff would force “hundreds of small businesses” dependent on these imports to shut down.
These tariffs would come down particularly hard on instant and decaf coffees, the vast majority of which are imported into the United States. The price hike resulting from these tariffs would disproportionately affect “older, poorer Americans” who would “really struggle with an 80% cost increase if these tariffs go into effect,” Murray tells the Washington Examiner. This bloc, the Examiner notes, voted disproportionately in favor of Trump during the 2016 election, and were the steep price increase linked to his trade policy, it “could have consequences on his reelection chances.”
It all just goes to show that while you can sell octogenarians on xenophobia by calling it “America first” and you can get away with blatant misogyny so long as you can refer to it as “locker room talk,” there’s one thing that you should never do under any circumstances whatsoever. You don’t mess with MeeMaw’s Folgers.