Sanctions threaten Swedish lingonberry exports

The Swedish government has expressed disappointment at a decision by the US to impose trade sanctions on a large number of EU products to force an agreement over hormone-treated meat.

Sanctions threaten Swedish lingonberry exports

A raft of Swedish products will be subject to new duties of between 100 and 300 percent as the US attempts to force a solution to the conflict which dates back ten years.

“So far we have determined that products such as lingonberry jam and frozen pork, with a total export value of SEK 60 million ($7.4 million), will be subject to duties of one hundred percent,” said Minister for Trade Ewa Björling in a statement on Monday.

According to US estimates, the total value of the sanctions imposed as a result of the ongoing conflict amounts to $116.8 million. Products from all EU countries – with the exception of the UK – will be subject to the duties.

“I am disappointed that the US has chosen to escalate the conflict, not least in a situation where new duties and more protectionism are the last thing that the world economy needs,” Ewa Björling wrote.

The new duties will partially replace older duties, among which include punitive duties on juice concentrate, which will be abolished.

In a similar move the US government on Friday filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization over an 11-year-old EU ban on imports of US chicken, according to a report in Reuters. A European trade diplomat Charles Schwab told Reuters:

“This is obviously a parting shot by the Bush administration.”

Schwab questioned whether the Obama administration would carry out these threats or adopt a more “liberal approach”. With President-Elect Obama set to take office on Tuesday, Swedish lingonberry farmers are set to follow developments closely.