Importers of US fresh produce and fruit juice are protesting to the government about proposed EU levies which could damage their industry and raise retail prices. The EU wants to increase duties in retaliation for US restrictions on European steel imports. The main grocery products targeted are grapefruit, pistachios, apples, walnuts and pears, frozen and fresh orange and grapefruit juices, dried kidney beans, lentils and rice. A British Soft Drinks Association spokesman said: "We're going to head this off ­ we don't believe it would be in the interest of consumers to push up prices. "At least a third and possibly half of all not-from-concentrate juice in the UK would be affected by the sanctions ­ 5% to 10% of UK juices." "This represents the premium end of the market. Market leader Tropicana, a broad range of own label and other brands would be hit, so the effects would be felt on every supermarket shelf." Chief executive of the Fresh Produce Consortium Doug Henderson commented: "We're lobbying the DTI not to increase levies on fresh produce ­ it would have a significant effect on UK apple and grapefruit importers." Industry bodies are to present the Department of Trade and Industry with reactions to the proposals by April 11. The EU is due to deliver levy proposals to the WTO on May 17. {{NEWS }}