EU imposes $4bn tariffs on US goods in Boeing row

EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis

The European Union said on Monday it will “regrettably” impose tariffs on imports of $4 billion in US goods from Tuesday, while hoping that President-elect Joe Biden will help bring about an improvement in transatlantic ties.

The EU will exercise the right to counter-measures awarded to it last month by the World Trade Organization in a case against US plane maker Boeing that is part of a long-running US-EU battle over civil aviation subsidies.

US tariffs on $7.5 billion of EU products after a parallel WTO case against Airbus have been in place for more than a year.

EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said: “We have made clear all along that we want to settle this long-running issue.

“Regrettably, due to lack of progress with the US, we had no other choice but to impose these countermeasures.

“The EU is consequently exercising its legal rights under the WTO’s recent decision.

“We call on the US to agree to both sides dropping existing countermeasures with immediate effect, so we can quickly put this behind us. 

“Removing these tariffs is a win-win for both sides, especially with the pandemic wreaking havoc on our economies.

“We now have an opportunity to reboot our transatlantic cooperation and work together towards our shared goals.” 

The EU said its countermeasures bring the EU equal footing with the US, with sizeable tariffs on each side based on two WTO decisions related to aircraft subsidies.

They include additional tariffs of 15% on aircraft as well as additional tariffs of 25% on a range of agricultural and industrial products imported from the US, thereby strictly mirroring the countermeasures imposed by the United States in the context of the WTO case on subsidies to Airbus.