EU, US Freeze Tariffs Over Airbus-Boeing Dispute

Published March 7th, 2021 - 12:00 GMT
EU, US Freeze Tariffs Over Airbus-Boeing Dispute
The US imposed tariffs on certain EU products following a ruling by the World Trade Organization (WTO). (Shutterstock)
Highlights
The two sides have imposed tariffs on aviation and non-aviation goods worth billions of dollars.
The European Union and United States have agreed to suspend all tariffs related to the Airbus-Boeing dispute for an initial period of four months, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced on Friday.
 

In a statement following a phone call with US President Joe Biden, von der Leyen said both sides were committed to solving the dispute, dpa reported.

"As a symbol of this fresh start, President Biden and I agreed to suspend all our tariffs imposed in the context of the Airbus-Boeing disputes, both on aircraft and non-aircraft products, for an initial period of four months," she said.

The commission's announcement is the latest move in a dispute between Brussels and Washington that dates back to the early 2000s. They accuse each other of unfair state support for the world's two largest aircraft companies, the European Airbus consortium and its US rival Boeing.

The two sides have imposed tariffs on aviation and non-aviation goods worth billions of dollars.

"This is excellent news for businesses and industries on both sides of the Atlantic, and a very positive signal for our economic cooperation in the years to come," von der Leyen said.

The US imposed tariffs on certain EU products following a ruling by the World Trade Organization (WTO). Declaring European subsidies for Airbus illegal, the trade body had permitted the US to raise tariffs on products worth 7.5 billion dollars.

Just in November, the European Commission imposed additional tit-for-tat tariffs on US products worth some 4 billion dollars (3.36 billion euros) following another ruling by the WTO.

The tariffs will be scrapped on both sides for a four-month period, as soon as internal procedures on both sides are completed.

The move marks an improvement in transatlantic relations that were strained under Biden's predecessor Donald Trump, who accused EU countries of harming US interests.

European Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis, who holds the trade portfolio, welcomed the announcement as a "major breakthrough."

In a similar vein, Franck Riester, French minister delegate for foreign trade and economic attractiveness, said the suspension of tariffs was "excellent news" for the French economy and its winegrowers.

Certain non-sparkling wine from France and Germany had been among the products hit by US tariffs.

Earlier this week, the US announced that it would temporarily lift punitive tariffs on British exports, such as Scotch whisky and Stilton cheese.


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