Next Target In Trump’s Trade War: Olive Oil Consumers

Published in Consumer Protection .

One of the most overlooked consequences of any type of tax or tariff is that it often hurts the poorest among us. Unfortunately, politicians choose to ignore that small detail, promising that the tariff they are proposing is meant to help a certain cause or protect a particular industry.

But while imposing tariffs on exports isn’t a novelty in the United States, President Donald Trump’s trade wars with China and now with Europe have gained a lot of traction in the news. Recently, however, this war became all too personal for countless households in the country as the president is threatening to impose tariffs on European products that could considerably increase the cost of goods such as olive oil.

Olive oil consumption in the United States has grown exponentially over the years, with Spain, Italy, and Greece being the largest exporters.

If Trump has his way, and a tariff that may reach the 100% mark is imposed, the cost of a bottle of olive oil in America could double. Additionally, an increase in the demand for nationally produced olive oil would be so great that the supply would dwindle, forcing Californian producers to raise their prices as well.

Needless to say, more budget-conscious consumers would have to act accordingly, purchasing less expensive and less healthy alternatives or simply choosing to lower or completely cut on their consumption of the product instead.

As highlighted by a CBS affiliate, Trump’s proposal to slap products such as olive oil with incredibly high tariffs is a response to the years that Europe has spent subsidizing companies like Airbus, reportedly making members of the European aeronautics industry more competitive than American firms. Unfortunately, Trump’s decision to “hit back” isn’t going to pressure European officials to rethink their subsidies. Instead, it will only hurt small businesses and consumers here at home. One of these businesses belongs to Pam Shaia. Her small olive oil store in Florida would be certainly hit, she told CBS.

“Forty dollars on the consumer will wipe us out. No one is willing to pay $40 for a bottle,” she said.

Big Or Small, Tariffs Hurt Us All

Neither Europe nor China are blameless for the United States’ current trade wars, for they, too, play the protectionist game. By the same token, Democrats who are now raging against Trump for the way he’s pushing against other countries are also to blame, as many have remained quiet when members of their party took part in the same policy. But despite this reality, Trump is also to blame for continuing Washington’s neurotic and damaging policies.

Instead of draining the swamp, the president is helping to make it deeper.

In order to truly get back at Trump, what Europe and other countries should do, argues Richard M. Ebeling, is to lower their own import tariffs.

By taking this step, Europe would not only make Trump look like a fool but would also help its citizens, as the price of many products would drop considerably thanks to a larger influx of cheaper goods.

Unfortunately, it is rather unlikely that Europe will take this step. Instead, they might resort to even higher tariffs on American goods, further hurting their own residents as a result. In the end, both continents will suffer greatly due to their politicians’ stubbornness. And what’s worse, residents will be all the poorer too.

As Murray Rothbard explained, tariffs aren’t meant to help anybody. Instead, they are put in place to attack the market and make it less efficient.

As more nations embrace tariffs, he added, we should expect more poverty, and “a regression from civilization to barbarism.”


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