Connoisseurs of strong-smelling fromage, rejoice! After blogging about the announcement and temporary delay of a 300% duty on Roquefort cheese, I am happy to report the recent repeal of this planned artificial price hike. In exchange for the EU lowering barriers to exporters of non-hormone treated U.S. beef (they still ban the hormone-injected stuff), the U.S. will back off its threat to effectively push Roquefort (and other European foodstuffs) out of the American market. It's a victory for stateside lovers of France's trademarked sheep's milk cheese and the residents of the small French village that produce it alike.
But this story has more meaning to me than simply my interest in all things French. As I reported before, a congressman from my home state took up the cause of Roquefort by sending a letter to President Obama asking him not to go forward with implementation of the duty, which was a leftover from the Bush Administration. I always knew James L. Oberstar, who represents Minnestoa's 8th congressional district, was a fellow Francophile (I had seen him in the publication, News from France, meeting with French officials), but I was still impressed by his actions on this matter. When his initial letter went unanswered, he wrote again. Eventually, members of the French government and the French media picked up on his efforts, thanking him with letters and invitations to visit France to visit the famous Roquefort caves.
Maybe they would invite a blogger who also cares about Franco-American relations? Ok, maybe not, but I'm still glad to hear that there are other Minnesotans (and other Americans, I'm sure!) who care about this stuff as much as I do. Vive le Minnesota! And vive le Roquefort, too.