Wisconsin Public Radio
Wisconsin's cranberry growers could lose access to their largest, overseas export market as the European Union considers retaliatory tariffs on United States cranberries.
The move by the EU is in response to President Donald Trump's plan to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum. Cranberries were one of the U.S. products the EU listed that could face import taxes, Harley-Davidson Inc. motorcycles were also on the list.
Tom Lochner, of the Wisconsin Cranberry Grower's Association, says this could have a big impact on state growers.
"Wisconsin is the world’s leading producer of cranberries and we’re concerned about the proposed retaliation tariff on our products. The U.S. annually exports about 95 million pounds of cranberries to the EU and the tariff would significantly hinder our ability to compete in those markets," Lochner said.
Lochner said growers are calling on Wisconsin's congressional delegation to convince the Trump administration to change it's mind or at least narrow the proposed tariffs on steel and ultra-thin aluminum, adding that they are hopeful they'll be able to convince the president to change course.
"We’re hoping that they can reach an agreement that allows us to continue to market into the EU not only for our growers here but the millions of consumers that we have in the European Union as well."
Lochner said it's too soon to tell what impact the European cranberry tariff could have on Wisconsin growers. Europe is the biggest importer of U.S. cranberries.
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On EU's list of retaliatory tariffs are Wisconsin cranberries