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Pompeian Warns Tariffs On Olive Oil Will Cause Negative Impacts

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Pompeian Inc. is urging policymakers in Washington, D.C., to recognize the rippling effect the proposed tariffs on EU-origin olive oil will have not only on American jobs and access to a healthy and affordable diet but also the global food, health and beauty industries.

Pompeian further supports all efforts of the North American Olive Oil Association, of which they are a member, and opposes any tariffs on any size or type of healthy olive oil. The Baltimore, Maryland-based company is encouraging industry leaders and consumers to take defensive actions while they still can by getting in touch with their local congressional representatives by phone or email.

On May 15, Bill Monroe, board advisor of Pompeian, testified at a public hearing to implore the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to strike bulk-imported olive oil—18kg or more—from the proposed list of retaliatory tariffs against the European Union (EU) as part of the EU-Large Civil Aircraft dispute. Monroe emphasized the many harmful effects of these tariffs, noting, “Olive oil is a key ingredient in many items we eat and use every day. If the proposed tariffs go into place, American jobs will be lost, and many industries will be forced to use less expensive, less healthy seed oil substitutes, negatively impacting our country’s health.”

The domestic olive oil industry can only produce, at most, 5 percent of total U.S. demand for olive oil, so importing olive oil in bulk and bottling in the U.S. has created immense opportunity for American jobs. Pompeian imports olive oil from all over the world and bottles it in facilities in Baltimore and Montebello, California. It is then distributed and sold in all 50 states. This industry has created jobs in factories, warehouses, transportation and agriculture. Pompeian warns that without action, a tariff on EU-origin bulk olive oil can cause substantial financial harm, including Pompeian’s ability to invest in new production facilities and create high-paying manufacturing jobs for Americans.

Olive oil is a component of a healthy diet.

“It is the only product on the USTR’s proposed list that is recommended by American doctors, nutritionists and dietitians for the prevention or treatment of chronic diseases,” Monroe said. “It’s the healthiest cooking oil known to man and its many benefits must be preserved for the good of all Americans.”

Olive oil is used in more than the food. It is an essential ingredient used by the health and beauty industry in lotions, cleansing oils, makeup removers, shampoos and more. Higher prices could push manufacturers to reformulate the products to reduce or exclude olive oil.

The USTR has proposed tariffs on bulk virgin olive oil and bulk olive oil among a long list of products from the European Union in connection with the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute on a large civil aircraft. The USTR has stated it will not implement these retaliatory tariffs until the WTO approves the level of countermeasures, likely in August 2019.

Pompeian is a national brand of olive oil, wine vinegars and a variety of cooking sprays that was founded in 1906.

About the author

Kristen Brissette

Kristen lives on Cape Cod and enjoys working in the food industry. She loves attending food shows and meeting others in the field.

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