Oberstar, who represents Minnesota's 8th District, has a special place in his heart for the French cheese, a type of blue cheese native to South France. Hot Dish reported on Oberstar's concerns in March, not long after the congressman penned a letter to President Barack Obama seeking dismissal of the "mean-spirited" tax.
In response to his wish being granted, Oberstar says, "This is good news. I am a strong supporter of 'buy American' and I believe that measures must be taken to protect U.S. industries and products from unfairly subsidized foreign imports."
"However, Roquefort cheese does not fall into that category. It is a product that is made in a small French town that does not have an identical American counterpart. The people in this community should not have been unfairly targeted and included in a broader trade dispute over which they had no control."
The Bush administration had imposed a prohibatory 300 percent tax on the cheese shortly before leaving the White House in retaliation for an EU ban on hormone-fed U.S. beef. The Obama administration met the EU halfway, offering to drop the import tax and forget about the issue of hormone-fed beef if it would instead expand its import of hormone-free beef. The EU was amenable.