Oil & Vinegar

Olive Oil Industry at a “crisis point” with US Tariffs

Interview with Joseph Profaci, executive director North American Olive Oil Association

US trade tariffs of up to 100% on olive oil would irreversibly hurt consumption and ultimately people’s health, says Joseph Profaci, head of the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA). “We are at a real crisis point. If these tariffs that have been proposed come into place it would turn the industry upside down,” Profaci told Italianfood.net in this exclusive interview. “We are on the verge of beginning to grow consumption again, this would reverse consumption, reduce demand and be a big problem for everybody,” he said.

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NAOOA, whose members represent 85% of olive oil imported in the United States, is trying to persuade US lawmakers to prevent the imposition of higher tariffs on EU goods, which would seriously affect imports of “Made in Italy” goods to the US. “My message for my members is to take this threat very seriously. We can’t take a risk. We can’t put a tax on people’s health,” Profaci said.

The message comes as the Trump administration is threatening to impose punitive tariffs of up to 100% on $25 billion of EU goods – including Italy’s most exported foods such as olive oil, pasta and cheese – as part of retaliation measures against EU subsidies for commercial aircraft.

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