US Airbus tariffs cover 75% of EU cheese exports

Thursday, 17 October 2019

By Felicity Rusk

From 18 October the United States will be applying retaliatory tariffs of 25% to a number of EU dairy products. However, the tariffs vary between EU member states. For the UK, the tariffs encompass nearly all butter and cheese exports to the US.

Here we look at how the tariffs will be applied to specific EU member states.


Cheese is the largest EU dairy export in both volume and value terms. Under the new tariff schedule, approximately 75% of EU cheese sent to the US will be subject to tariffs.

Italy is the largest exporter of cheese to the US. Last year, the nation accounted for almost a fifth of all cheese imported into the US. Italy have been included for all cheese tariffs, and so almost all (>99%) of Italian cheese exported to the US will be subject to the duties.

France is also a key exporter of cheese to the US, with 24,000 tonnes of cheese exported last year. France has been omitted from a selection of cheese tariffs, including Cheddar, Emmental and blue-veined cheeses. While the tariffs will still apply to around 96% of French cheese that is currently sent to the US, it will be interesting to see if the products exported will shift to those varieties that will not be subject to a tariff.

Butter is also a significant EU dairy export to the US. Ireland is the largest exporter of butter to the US, accounting for nearly half of all the butter imported into the nation last year. Under the new tariff schedule, all of Ireland’s butter exports will be subject to tariffs.

The implementation of the tariffs will make EU products more expensive, and in most cases uncompetitive on US markets. Exporters may have to choose between absorbing the tariffs into their costs or seeking alternative markets for their products.

Sign up for regular updates

You can subscribe to receive Dairy market news straight to your inbox. Simply fill in your contact details on our online form and select the information you wish to receive.

Visit the Keep in touch page

While AHDB seeks to ensure that the information contained on this webpage is accurate at the time of publication, no warranty is given in respect of the information and data provided. You are responsible for how you use the information. To the maximum extent permitted by law, AHDB accepts no liability for loss, damage or injury howsoever caused or suffered (including that caused by negligence) directly or indirectly in relation to the information or data provided in this publication.

All intellectual property rights in the information and data on this webpage belong to or are licensed by AHDB. You are authorised to use such information for your internal business purposes only and you must not provide this information to any other third parties, including further publication of the information, or for commercial gain in any way whatsoever without the prior written permission of AHDB for each third party disclosure, publication or commercial arrangement. For more information, please see our Terms of Use and Privacy Notice or contact the Director of Corporate Affairs at  © Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. All rights reserved.