High imports lead to calls for tariffs on foreign butter

October 26, 2004, as reported by just-food.com: A surge in butter imports has caused panicked U.S. producers to call for higher tariffs on foreign products. According to the National Milk Producer Federation 2004 imports of butter are up 89 percent when compared to the same period in 2003.

The request comes after the latest U.S. figures on butter imports indicate they have broke through the pre-determined safeguard level. The threshold, an acceptable trade practice under international rules, allows the USDA to impose higher-than-normal tariffs on foreign products. The USDA reported butter imports through September at 13,888 tonnes, or 101% of the pre-determined safeguard level.

The government is likely to comply, since it took similar action two years ago, raising safeguard tariffs on American-type cheese products.

Virginia-based NMPF represents nearly 50,000 producers who produce most of the nation's dairy products.