Skip to content


EU to impose tariffs on US goods but makes last-ditch offer of further negotiations

The European Union will impose tariffs on American goods worth $4bn
starting today in a tit-for-tat escalation over illegal aid to aircraft
manufacturers Boeing and Airbus.

EU trade chief
Valdis Dombrovskis yesterday expressed a preference to negotiate a
settlement, saying the bloc would drop its duties if the US withdrew the
tariffs it imposed on $7.5bn (€6.84bn) of EU goods last year in the
16-year dispute.

The EU levies will
target various Boeing models, which will face a 15pc duty, as well as
other goods ranging from spirits and nuts to tractors and video games,
which will be subject to a 25pc levy. The escalation comes at an awkward
moment for the EU, which is contending with a surge of Covid cases and
its worst recession in history.

“We call on the US
to agree that both sides drop existing countermeasures with immediate
effect, so that we can quickly put this issue behind us,” Mr Dombrovskis
told reporters after a meeting of EU trade ministers. “Removing these
tariffs would represent a strong win-win for both sides.”

The imminent tariff
strike is meant to give the EU more leverage in pushing for a truce
that has been elusive with US President Donald Trump, who will remain in
office until January 20. The tit-for-tat move may make it easier for
President-elect Joe Biden to embrace longstanding European calls to
settle the transatlantic dispute over aircraft aid at the negotiating

For the past year,
the EU has faced US tariffs on $7.5bn (€6.84bn) of European goods after
Washington won a World Trade Organization (WTO) case against
market-distorting aid to Airbus. Last month, in a parallel lawsuit, the
EU received final WTO permission to hit $4bn (€3.38bn) of US products
with duties over unfair subsidies to Boeing.

The WTO damages
award in the Boeing case came months later than the EU had hoped,
complicating deliberations as a result of its proximity of the US
election on November 3. The timing of the planned tariffs is a
political compromise by coming after the US ballot and before Mr Trump
leaves the White House.

German Economy Minister Peter
Altmaier echoed Mr Dombrovskis yesterday in urging the US to enter into
talks on a settlement of the aircraft-aid row, telling reporters “we
remain ready at any time to put a negotiated solution in place”.

Article Source: Click Here