The United States’ decision to impose an additional 25 per cent tariff on a range of EU products, has Greek peach producers reeling.
The increase came into effect on 18 October just as Greek peach producers were getting ready to ship 50 million canned peach tins to the US market. The new tariffs, in retaliation to EU tariffs imposed on US aircraft manufacturer Airbus, caused many customers to cancel production.
Greece’s prized canned peach production is affected by the duties, along with other EU products, such as whiskey, cheeses and wines.
Greece is the world’s greatest global exporter of tinned peaches with a production of 250,000 tonnes per annum. A fifth of its production goes to the United States.
The current 18 per cent import levy will now be lifted, resulting in a total import duty to 43 per cent for peaches entering the EU market.
Producers of northern Greece are concerned as to how the tariffs will affect their businesses. Kostas Apostolou head of the Greek Canners Association told Reuters that the dispute is threatening their livelihood and could potentially shut them out of their biggest market. “Why are they punishing us?” he asked.
The Canners Association worry that the excess produce will lead to a collapse in prices and an increase in unemployment in an area that managed to survive the Greek debt crisis but is still recovering from the impact of a Russian embargo on the EU fruit and vegetable sector that was imposed in 2014.