The United States government on Wednesday announced it would maintain tariffs imposed on European Union exports last year – a move that will affect Spanish cheese, wine, olive oil and pork products.
The United States introduced the duties on October 18, 2019, after winning a dispute at the World Trade Organization (WTO) over illegal subsidies granted to the aircraft manufacturer Airbus over 15 years ago.
EU and member states failed to take action to comply with WTO rulings
US Sales Representative Rovert Lighthizer
In 2004, the United States argued that the French, Spanish, British and German governments had granted loans to Airbus at interest rates well below market standards. The WTO has ruled in favor of the United States and has decided that in compensation for the damage caused to the American aviation industry, Washington could impose up to 7.5 billion dollars (6.34 billion euros ) European exports. The decision mainly concerned products from Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Spain.
The US Department of Commerce announced on Wednesday that certain changes would be made to the list of products subject to tariffs: a selection of items from Greece and the United Kingdom will be removed and replaced by products from France and Germany. But there will be no change in the list of spanish products.
The decision means that a number of Spanish exports, including preserves, sausages and cheeses, will continue to be subject to a 25% tariff. The 10% duty on civil aircraft will also be maintained.
“The EU and member states have failed to take the necessary steps to comply with WTO rulings,” said US Trade Representative Rovert Lighthizer, who added that the US was ready to continue to negotiate ways to resolve the Airbus dispute.
EU may also be able to fight back against US infringement if WTO approves duties on US aircraft manufacturer Boeing for unfair trade practices
“The United States will begin a new process with the EU with the aim of reaching a deal that will address behavior that has harmed the US aviation industry and workers and ensure a level playing field for US businesses,” Lighthizer said in a press release. . According to the Bloomberg news agency, the US government has so far rejected four EU proposals on the issue.
In a bid to reverse US tariffs, Airbus announced in July that it would increase loan repayments to France and Spain. The EU may also be able to retaliate against the US infringement if the WTO approves duties on US aircraft manufacturer Boeing for unfair trade practices.
On Monday, a bipartisan group of 13 U.S. senators sent a letter to the U.S. Trade Representatives Office calling for an end to tariffs on EU exports. The letter, seen by Reuters, said “American restaurants, retailers, grocers, importers and distributors were experiencing” serious economic difficulties due to the increase in the cost of goods.
Last month, the American Spirits Council also demanded an end to the tariff, saying beverage companies on both sides of the Atlantic “have suffered enough.”
english version by Melissa Kitson.