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Cheese war ends. Everyone wins.

Our long international nightmare is over. The U.S. and EU have reached an agreement to end the world’s most entertaining trade dispute, which began with George W. Bush’s lame-duck decision to raise import duties on Roquefort cheese: The new US administration has now agreed to drop the import duty threat, due to come into force ...

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French anti-globalisation activist Jose Bove (C) eats a piece of French Roquefort cheese as demonstrators set up a tasting stand in front of the US embassy in Paris on January 21, 2009, following the last week US decision to triple import duties on Roquefort cheese. On January 15, French government and food industry officials, warned that it could spell the end of Roquefort exports to the US market. Roquefort cheese was among a number of European Union products to be hit with new US tariffs in retaliation for an EU ban on US hormone-treated beef, a move that escalated a longstanding trade row. The board reads : "First Roquefort, we disagree with WTO". AFP PHOTO JACQUES DEMARTHON (Photo credit should read JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP/Getty Images)

Our long international nightmare is over. The U.S. and EU have reached an agreement to end the world’s most entertaining trade dispute, which began with George W. Bush’s lame-duck decision to raise import duties on Roquefort cheese:

The new US administration has now agreed to drop the import duty threat, due to come into force this week, and which would have affected to a lesser degree a range of EU products, from truffles and mineral water to chewing gum.

Under the provisional deal, the EU will keep the hormone-treated beef ban, which it claims poses a health threat, but will quadruple imports of non-hormone treated American beef in four years.

Cheese farmer and lefty icon Jose Bove (above) described the deal as evidence that the U.S. has “accepted that health is more important than trade,” even though this is actually an expansion of trade and between all this beef and cheese, I’m not sure who’s getting healthy. 

But in any event, kudos to negotiators for ensuring that neither American populism nor European ludditism will bring down the transatlantic alliance. Time for a celebratory cheeseburger.

JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP/Getty Images

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