USA handbags, shovels on $20 billion European Union tariff list over Boeing

18 Avril, 2019, 11:54 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • The European flag and the flag of the United States of Americas seen in Dublin centre

European Union imports of the goods on the preliminary retaliation list in the Boeing dispute have a total value of around $20 billion and the bloc would eventually apply duties on some or all of the products once the WTO sets the damages limit, according to the commission, the bloc's executive arm.

The European commission threatened to impose tariffs on USA imports worth $20bn (£15.3bn) on Wednesday, publishing an 11-page catalogue of items at risk, which also included aircraft and tractors, following a World Trade Organization ruling against Washington last month.

The EU's trade commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, said she wanted to avoid a tit-for-tat trade war with Washington, and called for Trump to come to the negotiating table.

In late March, the WTO appellate body confirmed that the U.S. failed to comply with the organization's rules on subsidies and "continued unabatedly its illegal support of its aircraft manufacturer Boeing to the detriment of Airbus", according to the European Commission.

The proposed tariffs cover a range of products from aircraft to chemicals and food products including frozen fish, citrus fruit, and ketchup.

"The EU has taken advantage of the USA on trade for many years".

It's an important difference from the dispute between China and United States, and American action over steel and aluminium, where it can be argued that countries have gone beyond what the WTO rules permit. But the proposed retaliation on aviation does not.

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A long list of United States seafood products, including pollock, cod and Pacific salmon, are included among the items the European Commission's (EC) has proposed hitting with tariffs in relation to the nearly 15-year dispute over subsidies paid by the USA to airplane maker Boeing and Europe to Airbus.

The United States and the European Union have been battling for nearly 15 years at the World Trade Organization over subsidies given to USA planemaker Boeing and its European rival Airbus.

Brussels has responded with its own list of some 20 billion US dollars worth of USA imports, including agricultural products from dried fruit to ketchup, planes, fish, tobacco, handbags, suitcases, tractors, helicopters and video game consoles.

According to the EC, the preliminary tariffs (see the list of seafood products below) are subject to public consultation, which will last until May 31, 2019.

Both sides have said they would prefer a settlement that did not lead to tariffs being imposed. "While we need to be ready with countermeasures in case there is no other way out, I still believe that dialog is what should prevail between important partners such as the European Union and the USA, including in bringing an end to this longstanding dispute".

"The EU remains open for discussions with the U.S., provided these are without preconditions and aim at a fair outcome", Ms Malmström said. The World Trade Organization will ultimately decide the level of damages the European Union can seek, with a verdict possible toward the end of this year or in early 2020.

The EU responded with tariffs on about 2.8 billion euros' worth ($3.4 billion) of USA steel, agricultural and other products, from Harley Davidson bikes to orange juice.

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