Bush's Cheesy War Cuts French Farmers

Massive tariff amounts to ban on Roquefort
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 29, 2009 8:37 AM CST
Roquefort cheese, a French delicacy.   (Shutterstock)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – On its way out the door, the Bush administration essentially banned France’s prized Roquefort cheese from US shelves with a 300% tariff. The move was a tit-for-tat after the EU banned the import of US beef containing hormones, said a US trade rep. But residents of the cheese-dependent Roquefort region, where 4,500 people herd special sheep, say they’ve been unfairly targeted, the Washington Post reports.

“This measure is completely out of proportion,” said a sheep farmer. US officials note that Irish oatmeal, Italian sparkling water, and foie gras have also been casualties of the beef war. But tariffs on those items haven’t been so high as to effectively ban them, say Roquefort locals. They’re hopeful President Obama will change things, but what with the whole tanking economy on his plate, “I don't think Roquefort will be the first thing on his mind,” says the farmer.