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In the period 1963-67 annual imports of Swiss cheese ranged from 10.4 million pounds in 1965 to 14.8 million pounds in 1966 (table 23) and averaged 12.5 million pounds. In January-September 1968 imports rose sharply to 34.9 million pounds; in the corresponding period in 1967 they amounted to 10.4 million pounds. In 1963-67 about half of the imported Swiss cheese came from Switzerland and the bulk of the remainder came from Finland, Austria, and Denmark. In January-September 1968 West Germany became an important supplier, accounting for nearly a third of the total imports; in January-September 1967 that country had supplied only 2 percent of the total.
As indicated earlier, imports of certain Swiss or Emmenthaler cheese were made subject to an emergency quota under section 22 by Proclamation No. 3870 dated September 24, 1968. The representative period on which the quota is based is the calendar year 1967. The application of the quota to cheese for which the purchase price is under 47 cents per pound is apparently based upon the view advanced by the spokesman for the Department of Agriculture at the hearing, that processed cheese and cheese for processing--i.e., the cheese which is said to be materially interfering with the price-support programs for milk and butterfat--is so priced for export to the United States and that the natural cheese for table use--i.e., cheese which does not so interfere--is priced for export to the United States at 47 cents or higher per pound. On the basis of the best, but clearly inadequate, data available with respect to the value of imported cheese, it would appear that the aggregate quantity of 4.3
million pounds proclaimed is equal to about three-fifths of the Swiss and Emmenthaler cheese imported in 1967 for which the purchase price was under 47 cents per pound. No data are available from which to correlate the end use with the purchase price.
In recent years, the composition and average annual unit value of U.S. imports of Swiss cheese from the major suppliers have changed significantly. Before 1966 most of the imported Swiss cheese from Switzerland consisted of high-priced cheese that was sold at retail as natural Swiss, and only small amounts consisted of low-priced grinders Swiss. The bulk of the high-priced cheese was imported in the form of 180- to 200-pound wheels, which were cut into pieces for sale at the retail level. In 1966 Switzerland began to export to the United States grinders Swiss cheese; in that year such cheese comprised about 12 percent of the Swiss cheese imported from Switzerland and in 1967, about 14 percent. In January-May 1968 shipments of grinders Swiss cheese rose sharply, accounting for about 50 percent of the total exports of Swiss cheese from Switzerland to the United During January-May 1968 the unit value, of Swiss exports of grinders Swiss cheese averaged about 25.5 cents per pound. During those months the average unit value of the aggregate exports of Swiss cheese from Switzerland to the United States was 49.5 cents per pound, compared with 71.7 cents per pound during January-May 1967. The Swiss reported that "first quality" Swiss cheese continued to enter the United States in January-May 1968 at the same values as in 1967. 1,
1 Statement submitted on behalf of the Embassy of Switzerland, pp. 15 and 29.
As indicated earlier, West Germany became an important supplier of Swiss cheese to the United States in 1968. The unit value of the German product, which consisted largely of grinders cheese, was about 25 cents a pound and was below that of imports of Swiss cheese from almost any other source (table 23). It reflects a reduction in the West German export price as a result of the Common Market subsidies in late 1967 and early 1968.1/
The average unit value of imported Swiss cheese from Finland, Denmark, and Austria, the other principal suppliers, was lower during January-September 1968 than in the corresponding period of 1967. In recent years the bulk of the cheese imported from Finland has been used for processing; 2/ probably most of that from Denmark has also been processed.
The Austrian representative reported that until 1968 Austria had exported only a "high grade" of Swiss cheese to the United States. 3/ The average unit value of imports of Swiss cheese from Austria declined from 43.3 cents per pound during the period January-September 1967 to 26.7 cents per pound in the comparable period of 1968 (table 23). It appears that some of the exports of Swiss cheese from Austria to the United States in 1968 probably consisted of grinders cheese. The witness for Austria also reported at the hearing that "Austria does pay a subsidy on its cheese exported to the United States."
Transcript of hearing, p. 119.
Ibid., p. 30
Statement of the United States Austrian Chamber of Commerce, p. 4.
The landed duty-paid unit value of imported grinders Swiss has been substantially lower than the price of domestic grinders Swiss cheese at Wisconsin assembly points. The landed duty-paid unit value of grinders Swiss cheese from West Germany in May 1968 was about 24 cents a pound; 1/ and that from Switzerland, 25.3 cents a pound, 2/ compared with an average price of 43 cents a pound for the domestic product at Wisconsin assembly points. 3/
1/ Transcript of hearing, p. 31.
2/ Statement of the Embassy of Switzerland, p. 15. 3/ Transcript of hearing, p. 31.
Gruyere-Process Cheese 1/
Gruyere-process cheese is generally made from natural Gruyere or from a blend of natural Gruyere and natural Swiss or Emmenthaler cheese. 2/ Natural Gruyere has a distinctive sharp flavor. When it is combined with Swiss or Emmenthaler, the Federal Standards of Identity require that the blend must contain not less than 25 percent by weight of natural Gruyere (21 CFR 19.750).
In recent years the bulk of the Gruyere-process cheese marketed in the United States has been imported and has consisted of individual wedge-shaped pieces weighing about 1 ounce each that are foil-wrapped and packed in circular boxes.
Gruyere-process cheese in this form is intended exclusively for consumption as hors d'oeuvres, snacks, or as a dessert cheese. The cheese in this form is not subjected to further processing nor is it sliced for sandwiches. 3/ In 1966 substantial
Processed Swiss cheese, often referred to in the trade as Gruyere-process cheese; natural Gruyere cheese, the imports of which are small; and cheese and substitutes for cheese containing Gruyereprocess cheese, which is included with that cheese to avoid circumvention of any restrictions, are all classifiable as "other" cheese (items 117.75 and 117.85) covered in a previous section of this
2/ Statement submitted on behalf of the Embassy of Switzerland,
3/ Ibid., p. 33.