US President Trump has implemented worldwide tariffs – higher taxes on imports and exports – leaving the world concerned for the possibility of a trade war.
Trump’s tariffs will target a range of goods, including Scotch whiskey, Italian cheeses, French wines and Greek peaches.
Greece is the world’s biggest exporter of tinned peaches, with 20% of their annual production being sent to the United States.
The import levy was historically 18%, but after the EU subsidised the manufacturing of ‘Airbus’ airplanes (the competitor of US’ Boeing), Trump responded by increasing the US import tax to 43%.
“Trump would do well to behave himself and let us get to work so we can have a livelihood,” said peach farmer Tasos Halkidis. “We don’t want this tariff business,” he told Reuters.
Kostas Apostolou, head of the Greek Canners Association, said the dispute is threatening their livelihood and will potentially shut them out of their biggest market.
“Why are they punishing us?” Apostolou told Reuters.
The increase in tariffs came into effect on October 18, just as Greece prepared to ship 50 million tins to the United States.
The US is dependent on Greece’s tinned peaces in their supermarkets, hospitals, schools, and military. Many of these companies have stated they are not prepared to pay for any tariff increases, which would result in order cancellations of peaches from Greece.
“Suddenly there was this (trade) war … We could never imagine that this could affect our jobs here in this small area,” Apostolou said.
Greece have tailored their tinned products to suit their US’ packaging requirements, which means they cannot be sold in Europe, Asia or Latin America.
Industry experts predict the impact of Trump’s tariffs on Greece will be roughly $50 million.
These tariffs will directly impact Greece’s farmers, who harvest millions of peaches on 50,000 acres, housing 10,000 small farms and supporting around 10,000 workers.