Business & Economy

US imposes new tariffs on German, French wines amid trade dispute with EU

Washington, Dec 30 (efe-epa).- The US government Wednesday announced increased tariffs on some European Union (EU) products, including French and German wines amid a long-running dispute over subsidies involving civil aircraft manufacturers.

The products on which additional tariffs were imposed also include aircraft manufacturing parts, non-sparking wines and cognac and other grape brandies from France and Germany, the office of the US. Trade Representative said in a statement.

However, the statement did not specify when the additional tariffs would take effect but noted that more details would be made available soon.

It is the latest in the ongoing trade dispute over subsidies that Airbus received to the detriment of its US rival Boeing that the World Trade Organization (WTO) resolved in favor of Washington by giving the green light to impose tariffs on EU and UK products.

The WTO acknowledged the adverse effects for Boeing concerning five aircraft sales campaigns that Airbus won between 2011 and 2013.

The WTO ruled that the US manufacturer would have won the contract if there had been no subsidies for the European planemaker.

The WTO gave the US the green light to impose levies on products from the EU and the United Kingdom for some $7.5 billion.

President Donald Trump’s administration imposed the WTO-authorized tariffs on imports from the EU and UK, including a 25 percent tax on French wine.

“The United States implemented its authorized countermeasures in a restrained way and used trade data from the prior calendar year to determine the amount of products to be covered,” the statement said, about the last year’s tariffs.

The WTO in September 2020 authorized the EU to impose tariffs affecting $4 billion in US trade as a result of related litigation.

But the USTR statement said the EU used trade data from a period in which trade volumes were low due to the horrific effects on the global economy from the Covid-19 virus.

“The result of this choice was that Europe imposed tariffs on substantially more products than would have been covered if it had utilized a normal period. Although the United States explained to the EU the distortive effect of its selected time period, the EU refused to change its approach.”

The statement said the US was thus compelled to change its reference period to the same period used by the European Union “to keep the two actions proportionate.”

The EU and the US are traditional allies, but since the arrival of Trump to the White House in January 2017, mutual trust has been broken. Both Washington and Brussels view actions from across the Atlantic ocean with suspicion.

The EU hopes it can improve relations with Democrat Joe Biden, who will take office on Jan.20 and has vowed to overturn some of the nationalist trade policies that Trump has adopted in the past four years. EFE-EPA


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