BRUSSELS: The European Union pressed ahead on Monday (Nov 9) with plans to impose tariffs and other penalties on up to US$4 billion worth of US goods and services over illegal American support for plane maker Boeing.
EU trade ministers were discussing the move at a videoconference, after international arbitrators last month gave the world’s biggest trade bloc the green light to do so.
It comes a year after the World Trade Organization authorised the United States to slap penalties on EU goods worth up to US$7.5 billion - including Gouda cheese, single-malt whiskey and French wine - over European support for Boeing rival Airbus.
“The US 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,” EU Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis told reporters.
“Of course, we remain open for a negotiated solution. Our proposal remains on the table that both sides withdraw their tariffs,” Dombrovskis said, but he noted that despite several appeals “so far, the US has not agreed to withdraw their tariffs.”
The Europeans are hopeful that the tough trade stance of President Donald Trump will soften under President-elect Joe Biden. Dombrovskis welcomed Biden’s past commitment to international alliances, the multilateral system and to improving ties with the EU.
In terms of tariffs over Boeing, the EU released last month a preliminary list that suggests it could go after a wide range of US products including frozen fish and shellfish, dried fruit, tobacco, rum and vodka, handbags, motorcycle parts and tractors.