Specialty Food Association Journeys to Washington DC to Fight for the $148 Billion Specialty Food Industry

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L to R: Andrew Gellert, Atalanta; Phil Kafarakis, Specialty Food Association; and Tom Gellert, Atalanta. Atalanta is the largest privately held food importer in the U.S. The Specialty Food Association represents the $148 billion specialty food industry.

All-Day Mission Focuses on Negative Impact of EU Tariffs on Food Businesses Across U.S.

NEW YORK, NY (September 23, 2019) Specialty Food Association (SFA) President Phil Kafarakis joined prominent SFA member importer Atalanta, led by Tom and Andy Gellert, to warn legislators and regulators in Washington DC of the impact that proposed US tariffs would have on their industry.

During all-day meetings on September 19 with senior officials from the White House, Congress, and the US Department of Agriculture, the SFA delegation drove home the message that tariffs on European Union (EU) exports would negatively impact the $148 billion specialty food industry, its 1.3 million employees, and countless US consumers.

After meeting with senior policy advisors at the White House, Kafarakis said “We are encouraged by the administration’s interest in understanding the potential negative impact of 100% tariffs on food businesses. But we’re disappointed that this has become a political matter and has caught our members by surprise. It’s disturbing that the proverbial ship has sailed and our concerns haven’t been considered.”

There continues to be uncertainty regarding the products that will be impacted and the degree of damages that will be imposed, but it appears certain that September 30 is the date that the World Trade Organization will make a final damages decision in the dispute between the US and EU that will trigger US Trade Representative (USTR) action.

SFA is working to engage all specialty food members involved in the EU export supply-chain to take notice of the impending circumstances.

“Not being complacent but being diligent and proactively developing mitigation plans to address our business issues is now the priority,” Tom Gellert said about yesterday’s meetings. “We are facing serious potential financial challenges. I want everyone in the industry to know that it’s not too late to call your congressional representative and express concerns over the outcome of this situation.”

SFA is committed to continuing to speak out on this critical issue. Kafarakis has provided testimony to the USTR twice on this matter. He concluded his August 5 testimony with, “These proposed additional tariffs are not appropriate…and would be especially harmful to the nationwide network of small- and medium-sized food businesses that sell specialty foods to a growing consumer base.”

As the SFA evolves to serve its membership, a new mission to champion specialty food through direct advocacy becomes more and more important. The association works to champion, nurture, and connect the specialty food industry in order to shape the future of food.

About the Specialty Food Association
The Specialty Food Association is a thriving community of food artisans, importers and entrepreneurs. Established in 1952 in New York, the not-for-profit trade association provides its 3,800 member companies in the U.S. and abroad with the tools, knowledge and connections to champion and nurture their companies in an always-evolving marketplace. The Association owns and produces the Winter and Summer Fancy Food Shows, and presents the sofi™ Awards honoring excellence in specialty food. Learn more at specialtyfood.com.

Specialty Food Association Media Contact:
PR Department, (646) 878-0130, press@specialtyfood.com

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