MILAN — U.S. consumers who appreciate the tang of aged Italian Parmesan cheese as an aperitif or atop their favorite pasta dish are stocking up ahead of next week’s tariff hike and as dairy producers in the two countries square off.
The Italian agricultural lobby Coldiretti said Friday that sales of both Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano, aged cheeses with a distinctive granular quality that are defined by their territory of origin, have skyrocketed in the United States by 220% since the higher tariffs were announced one week ago.
The new tariffs — up from $2.15 per kilogram (2.2 pounds) to around $6 a kilogram — take effect on Oct. 18. Parmesan cheese is on a long list of EU products targeted by the Trump administration for retaliatory tariffs approved by the World Trade Organization for illegal EU subsidies to aviation giant Airbus.
Coldiretti says American consumers as a result will pay over $45 a kilogram, instead of $40.
The U.S. National Milk Producers Federation has welcomed the tariffs on the Italian cheese, saying U.S. producers have been improperly blocked from selling their “common name” Parmesan in Europe, contributing to a $1.6 billion dairy trade deficit with the EU.
But Italy’s agriculture minister, Teresa Bellanova, vowed to protect Italian businesses against imports of what she sees as copycat products.