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France wants U.S. to cut Roquefort duty

Jan. 22, 2009 at 4:38 PM

PARIS, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- France is urging U.S. President Barack Obama to cut the tariff on Roquefort cheese, which was tripled in the final days of the Bush administration.

The ostensible reason for the increase was the European Union's refusal to end a 12-year-old ban on hormone-fed beef from the United States, The Times of London reported. But many in France believe that President George Bush, as he left office, was still angry about their country's failure to endorse the invasion of Iraq.

French officials are considering the next step in the food war. Phillippe Folliot, member of Parliament representing Roquefort, said he will introduce a bill to impose duties on Coca Cola.

Jose Bove, a French sheep farmer who used a bulldozer to take down a McDonald's in 1999, promises more drastic action.

"If Obama maintains the supertax, then we will find a new symbolic target," Bove said.

The French government has adopted a wait-and-see-what-Obama-does attitude.

"I hope that he will avoid mediocre little measures such as the one just taken against Roquefort," said Agriculture Minister Michel Barnier.

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