With Obama in the White House, France is hoping to have a much better relationship — at least culturally and culinarily — with the US.
However, shortly before leaving office, the Bush Administration approved a 100 percent import duty on a bunch of EU items. France is upset because one of its main cheeses, roquefort, is being hit with a 300 percent tariff. Many read this as one of the Bush Administration’s flipping the bird against France, who still have a US beef ban, and of course, antagonized the administration in early 2003. (Freedom fries, anyone?)
The US currently imports about two percent of the annual production of roquefort, but with the new tariff, it may make the cheese a luxury product. The tariff is due to take effect on March 23.
Philippe Folliot, a French MP who represents the region where roquefort is produced, has gone so far as to call for a “symbol against symbol” retaliation by imposing a tariff on Coca-Cola. (Um, huh?)
As a goodwill gesture, Martin Malvy, the the president of the Midi-Pyrenees sent the White House a box of roquefort. (Awesome!)
Better yet, this week, French anti-globalization protestor Jose Bové (yes, that Jose Bové) led a delegation to deliver seven kilos of roquefort to the US Embassy in Paris.
Man, I could really go for some moules roquefort right about now.
[via FP Passport | Photo: AFP]