Ex-GOP congressman to lead group to protect Italian products from tariffs

Ex-GOP congressman to lead group to protect Italian products from tariffs
© Greg Nash

Former Rep. Lou BarlettaLouis (Lou) James BarlettaEx-GOP congressman to lead group to protect Italian products from tariffs Head of Pennsylvania GOP resigns over alleged explicit texts Trump's most memorable insults and nicknames of 2018 MORE (R-Pa.) is leading a new coalition to prevent Italian-made goods from being targeted by U.S. trade policies.

Barletta will lead the American Italian Food Coalition (AIFC), a consortium of companies seeking to protect Italian pasta, coffee, biscuits and wafers from U.S. tariff policies, the Times Leader first reported.

The former GOP congressman served four terms in the House and unsuccessfully ran to unseat Sen. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyEx-GOP congressman to lead group to protect Italian products from tariffs The Hill's Morning Report - Progressives, centrists clash in lively Democratic debate Democrats press Trump Treasury picks on donor disclosure guidelines MORE (D-Pa.) in 2018. Barletta also served on President TrumpDonald John TrumpMarine unit in Florida reportedly pushing to hold annual ball at Trump property Giuliani clashes with CNN's Cuomo, calls him a 'sellout' and the 'enemy' Giuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it MORE’s transition team. 

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"Tariffs are complex economic policies that should be applied with scalpel-like precision. We're confident we can work with the Trump administration to accomplish the objectives of the administration without unfairly targeting Italian companies," Barletta said in a statement.

The AIFC is made up of Italian food companies, manufacturers and trade associations, all with the goal of preventing Italian imports from being affected by tariffs.

Companies have voiced concerns about European products being impacted by U.S. tariffs amid a long-running dispute over European airplane manufacturer Airbus.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has pushed for retaliatory tariffs on European products in response to subsidies Airbus received from Europe.

But the AIFC argues that Italian-made goods should not be part of the USTR retaliatory tariffs because when Airbus received subsidies from European Union states, Italy was not one of them. 

“I’m a proud Italian-American, and Italy has stood side-by-side with the United States for centuries. Italian-American communities are part of our own history,” Barletta said Tuesday.

“That’s why I’m leading this coalition, because while I understand the President’s position on tariffs, Italy shouldn’t be punished for the actions of other European countries,” he added.