Restaurants May Say "Ciao" to Mineral Water

New trade sanctions could double the cost of Italian mineral water

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Associated Press
    In Italy, mineral water is a part of every meal. Local restaurants would like to make that authenticity available here in Chicago, but getting that water to the table is becoming a problem.

    If you like a little Italian bubbly water with your pasta, you may end up being disappointed on your next visit to one of more than 60 Chicago Italian restaurants which are doing battle with the U.S Commerce Commission.

    Owners of those places -- including well-known spots like Spiaggia, The Italian Village and Phil Stefani's 437 Rush -- have signed a petition seeking the suspension of the new sanctions to be imposed -- beginning Thursday -- on Italian mineral water.

    The sanctions comprise a 100 percent import duty on Italian mineral water and, according to a release from the Italian American Chamber of Commerce-Midwest, effectively doubling its price.

    The mineral water and 34 other items from 26 countries are targeted by changes in trade sanctions aimed at putting pressure on Europe to restart negotiations on U.S. hormone beef, which the EU currently prohibits.

    It is discriminatory, signers of the petition say, because it singles out mineral water from Italy alone, while other European mineral waters remain sanction-free.

    The mineral water duty would "deprive restaurateurs (who) are already facing a difficult environment from a source of revenue that many patrons of Italian restaurants order on a regular basis," Italian Village owner Alfredo Capitanini said.

    Italy currently produces 12 percent of the world's mineral water, 40 percent of which is exported to the United States