The Specialty Food Association (SFA) president Phil Kafarakis and SFA member importer Atalanta, led by Tom and Andy Gellert, took their case against proposed tariffs to Washington D.C. They met with senior officials from the White House, Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Sept. 19.
The main mission of the visit, according to the SFA, was to vocalize how tariffs on European Union (EU) exports would negatively impact the $148 billion specialty food industry, its 1.3 million employees and U.S. customers. Potential tariffs are still uncertain, but Sept. 30 is a date to watch when the World Trade Organization will make a final damages decision in the dispute between the U.S. and EU that will trigger US Trade Representative (USTR) action.
"We are encouraged by the administration's interest in understanding the potential negative impact of 100% tariffs on food businesses," Kafarakis said after the meetings. "But we're disappointed that this has become a political matter and has caught our members by surprise. It's disturbing that the proverbial ship has sailed and our concerns haven't been considered."
Kafarakis has also provided testimonies to the USTR in regards to tariffs.
The not-for-profit Specialty Food Association has more than 3,800 member companies in the U.S. and abroad and produces the industry's Fancy Food Shows twice a year.