The EU is considering imposing tariffs on US foods exports, such as peanut butter, cranberries and orange juice, following US President Donald Trump’s plans to impose a 10% tariff on aluminium imports and a 25% levy on steel imports.

European commissioner for trade Cecilia Malmström stated that the EU was finalising a list of American exports that could be subject to sanctions. However, the commissioner expressed concerns that these actions may cause a trade war between US and its global partners.

“A trade war has no winners and if it does not happen [that is] for the better, then we can work with our American friends and other allies on the core issue of this problem – overcapacity,” she said to reporters.

President of the American Peanut Council Patrick Archer conveyed his disappointment that the EU planned to impose tariffs on peanut butter.

“Exports of US processed peanut butter are relatively small compared to the number of raw peanuts that we export to the EU; however, exports grew 28 percent in 2017 over 2016,” he told Food Ingredients First.

“We hate to see our European customers paying more for their favourite peanut butter. Many European consumers prefer high-quality US made peanut butter which contains at least 90 percent peanuts by US law. Many European brands do not contain as many peanuts.”

Cranberry growers in the US are equally concerned by the potential trade war. US manufacturers export 95 million pounds of cranberries to the EU member states. Almost 40% of the total crop is exported, and Wisconsin farmers alone account for over 50% of the world’s supply.

Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association executive director Tom Lochner said the tariffs ‘would significantly hinder our ability to compete in these markets.’

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) president and CEO Pamela G Bailey wrote in a letter to Trump: “Tariffs will disrupt global supply chains, increase the cost of foods and beverages for hard-working families, and jeopardise positive economic gains achieved through tax reform.”

The US food and drink industry employs 2.1 million Americans and US food exports reached $133bn in 2017.