American cheese sellers worry about tariffs against the EU

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AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN) – A fight between the U.S. and the EU could make your European cheese more expensive.

Tariffs in response to a fight between Boeing and Airbus could go into effect this fall, affecting a long list of items from the E.U.

“The artisanal cheese movement is bustling,” John Antonelli said. “I think we’re not too far behind the wine industry here in Texas.”

Antonelli’s Cheese Shop in Austin sells cheese produced domestically and internationally, but co-owner John Antonelli says possible retaliatory tariffs on European Union goods is already having an impact on his business and holiday preorders that are underway.

“It’s a big unknown right now,” Antonelli said. “So, the cheeses which can take a month, two months to get here and the states… We may not have tariffs imposed today, but we may have tariffs imposed before they arrive.”

He says prices could double if the tariffs go into effect.

“We immediately become at risk of going out of business, which then punishes the small cheesemakers that really rely on us here locally to get their product in the market,” Antonelli said.

He’s talking about cheesemakers like Pure Luck Dairy, which makes fresh goat cheese.

“Even though we are a local texas product, we are part of a global cheese market,” Ben Guyton said.

Ben Guyton said places like Antonelli’s and the Texas Farmer’s Market drive their business.

“If one of our retailers has problems selling cheese or bringing customers into the store, that’s going to affect their orders from us. If that affects their orders from us, suddenly we might be in a surplus of cheese,” Guyton said. “We can’t be in a surplus of fresh cheese.”

Despite the uncertainty, both businesses will continue cultivating the culture and love around artisanal cheese.

“It’s a lot of work, 24/7, but you get to work with your hands and create a product. And I love seeing how much people love our product.”

The Specialty Food Association says cheese was among the top five categories of retail sales last year.

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