The World Trade Organization endorsed that the European Union apply tariffs to US products for US $ 4 billion. The magnitude of the WTO decision on the illegal state aid that the United States provided to Boeing Co. it was reported by Bloomberg last month. The permit is less than the $ 7.5 billion ruling awarded to the US last year in a side dispute against Airbus SE, Boeing’s European rival.
The EU has drawn up a list of US products to which it will apply the taxes. Although it targets politically important industries for the president Donald Trump and its Republican allies, such as aircraft, coal, produce, and seafood, the bloc likely will wait until after the election November 3 in the United States. to see if an agreement is possible, said the officials, who asked not to be identified as the negotiations are private.
By waiting, the 27-nation bloc may try to restart weak talks with Trump while waiting to see if the discussions could go better in the event that the former vice president Joe Biden, the Democratic challenger who leads several national polls, win the election. Both Boeing and Airbus called for talks to resume after the decision was made public.
The EU trade chief, Valdis Dombrovskis, said on Twitter that the EU “will immediately re-engage with the US in a positive and constructive way to decide on the next steps. Our strong preference is for a negotiated settlement. Otherwise, we will be forced to defend our interests and respond in a proportional way.
He has previously pointed out the difficulty of negotiating with the current White House.
“It would probably be easier under a new government because we know that unfortunately the Trump Administration is supporting this unilateral action in trade areas, which is creating a lot of tensions and problems,” Dombrovskis told members of the European Parliament earlier this month.
The office of the U.S. Trade Representative said in a statement following the award of the OMC that there was still no “legal basis” for the EU tariffs on US products and indicated that the next concession should come from Brussels.
“We are awaiting a response from the EU to a recent US proposal and will intensify our ongoing negotiations with the EU to restore fair competition and a level playing field in this sector,” said Robert Lighthizer, US Trade Representative. .UU.
Since mid-2018, the US has imposed tariffs on European steel and aluminum and threatened tariffs on billions of dollars of EU products if France and other European nations go through with their plans to collect taxes on companies. digital like Facebook Inc. Y Google, from Alphabet Inc.
The EU is under pressure from some member countries to fight back, particularly from those whose products face US tariffs after the Airbus aid case. France, whose wine exports have been affected, is among them.
“Since the US is not withdrawing its own taxes on our products, we should rebalance the balance of power and show that we stand firm, “French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and Commerce Minister Franck Riester said in a joint statement. “This is why the EU should impose sanctions as soon as the WTO has formally authorized it.”
The EU has waited for months for the green light from the WTO, which was originally scheduled for the first half of the year and was halted in part by the coronavirus pandemic. The additional delay frustrated EU officials because it extended the period of disequilibrium during which the US had retaliatory measures in place and the bloc did not.
Now, the proximity of the US presidential elections has added a complicated political factor by curbing the instinct to fight back before the EU knows who it will deal with in Washington.