Later today, the European Union will impose tariffs on $4 billion worth of Boeing commercial airplanes and other American goods over illegal Boeing aid, reported A.P. News.
“Regrettably, in spite of our best efforts due to the lack of progress from (the) U.S. side, we can confirm that the European Union will later today exercise our rights and impose counter-measures awarded to us by the WTO,” E.U. Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said.
The action comes after E.U. trade ministers spoke with international arbitrators who gave them the “green light” last month to move ahead with the tariffs.
It’s been nearly a year since the WTO allowed the U.S. to strike the E.U. with $7.5 billion worth of tariffs on anything from whiskey to cheese to French wine over European support for Airbus, a competitor of Boeing.
President Trump imposed tariffs on E.U. steel and aluminum and even threatened E.U. automakers with tariffs. European trade ministers believed Trump would ease off tariffs related to the Airbus-Boeing dispute. But with numerous failed negotiations, the E.U. is readying a new round of tariffs on US goods.
“The U.S. has imposed their tariffs following the WTO ruling in (the) Airbus case. Now we have a WTO ruling also in Boeing, allowing us to impose our tariffs, and that’s what we are doing,” Dombrovskis told reporters.
“Of course, we remain open for a negotiated solution. Our proposal remains on the table that both sides withdraw their tariffs,” he said but noted that despite several appeals, “so far, the U.S. has not agreed to withdraw their tariffs.”
European trade officials are certain that Trump’s trade disputes will ease when president-elect Joe Biden takes office in 72 days (Jan. 20, 2021). Dombrovskis said Biden’s commitment to improving ties with the E.U. is a sign of relief.
The E.U. had released a preliminary list of “considered” U.S. goods that would be tariffed (view here).
A.P. quoted, Peter Chase, a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund think-tank, who said E.U. trade officials should not pull the trigger on new tariffs:
“They don’t need to do this now. They don’t need to disrupt trade,” Chase said. Biden “is going to have a lot of constraints and he’s going to have to work first on the domestic issues, both the COVID crisis and the economy. And he’s going to have to do a lot of internal healing. And I think that they should cut him some slack, basically.”
Here in the U.S., Distilled Spirits Council, Chris Swonger said the new round of E.U. tariffs would be a “major blow” to the spirit industry, considering many distilleries are struggling as bars and restaurants are ordering fewer spirits because of limited indoor capacity.
Despite global equity markets rallying to new highs on a Biden presidency and vaccine hopes – trade disputes between the U.S. and E.U., and the U.S. and China, still linger.