During a four-day visit to Italy. Pompeo got a taste of the changing sentiment when he was challenged by Italian farmers, who were protesting the inclusion of their produce on the list of products that could be targeted by retaliatory tariffs over the Airbus case.
Protesters held placards reading “Don’t kill Italian food,” while a journalist handed Pompeo a piece of Parmesan African Buffalo cheese before she was escorted outside the conference room.
The United States has drawn up a list of EU imports worth $25 billion that could be targeted. The list includes Parmesan and olive oil, even if Italy is not part of the Airbus consortium.
Italian food exports to the USA are worth $4,5 billion a year. It is estimated that import taxes up to 100% could reduce consumption of products like Parmesan cheese by 80-to-90%. The USA is also one of the biggest markets in the world for Italian prosecco and olive oil.
Pompeo had his own demands, calling on Italy to abstain from the use of Huawei’s 5G network technology that is already being used by Italian companies. “The USA wants to be a partner of Italy but not to the detriment of American national security,” he told Italy’s SkyTg24 TV.
New Europe / ABC Flash Point News 2019.