Trump administration mulls tariffs on Perrier, Vespas over EU-beef dispute

The Trump administration is poised to demonstrate its promised tough approach to trade rules in a long-simmering dispute with the European Union over beef. The U.S. is considering imposing tariffs of 100% on Perrier mineral water, Vespa motor scooters and Roquefort cheese in response to the EU’s longstanding ban of American beef from hormone-treated cattle. Prompting that menu of punitive tariffs are complaints from U.S. beef producers that the EU hasn’t held up its end of a deal the two sides cut in 2009. The beef case is expected to provide a window into how aggressive the administration will be with trading partners. President Donald Trump tapped into a vein of discontent over U.S. trade policy in the 2016 campaign and has repeatedly threatened to hit major economies with stiff tariffs for alleged violation of trade rules, saying he would take a sharper stance on economic ties with China, Mexico and other countries. The case has been in and out of dispute resolution at the World Trade Organization for years. In 2008 the Geneva-based trade body said the U.S. could maintain tariffs imposed years earlier to punish European products over the beef ban, which it said violated international trade rules. Washington suspended such tariffs, however, after Brussels agreed on a plan, implemented in 2009, to allow American beef not treated with hormones into Europe. But American beef producers say that deal has soured because the EU hasn’t adequately opened up its markets to non-hormone U.S. beef as outlined in that deal.