European Union calls for intensified efforts to solve trade disputes with US

Marco Green
August 13, 2020

Airbus on Wednesday said it regretted a USA decision to keep in place 15% tariffs on Airbus aircraft despite European Union actions to comply with World Trade Organization rulings, and said it expected Brussels to defend European interests.

Washington's decision to refrain from increasing the tariff rates would help prevent a further escalation, an European Union official said, calling for intensified efforts to resolve trade conflicts between the powerful economic blocs.

The Scottish Whisky Association said the tariff is "inflicting huge damage", with exports down 30% since the tariff came into effect.

Since the tariffs were introduced, USA imports of Scotch whisky have dropped 30%, from US$1.01 billion between October 2018 and May 2019 to US$723m between October 2019 and May 2020.

The SWA statement continued: "The UK government must accelerate negotiations to bring an end to tariffs between the UK and USA before preparations for November's Presidential election bring talks to a halt".

In June, the Trump administration escalated the trade row, threatening to levy new tariffs on $3.1 billion worth of exports from France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom, prompting a strong reaction from Brussels. However, in its latest move the USTR refrained from placing sanctions on these spirits.

"The Commission acknowledges the decision of the USA not to exacerbate the ongoing aircraft dispute by increasing tariffs on European products", an EU official said.

The US imposed a tariff increase of 25% on over 100 European products including wine and spirits last October, as part of an on-going spat concerning EU subsidies for Airbus.

After winning a $7.5 billion award in the Airbus case, the U.S. imposed a 10 percent tariff on most European-made Airbus jets and duties of 25 percent on a list of EU products, ranging from cheese and olives to whiskey.

"The longer these disputes are unresolved, the greater the threat of even more tariffs on our industry".

The French wine and spirits exports federation FEVS said the decision "will continue to heavily penalize French exporters".

He added he hoped it would prove to be a, "first important step in what should prove to be a closer trading relationship, and should provide the necessary space for constructive discussions between the USA and UK Governments, and for both administrations to work to remove the remaining tariffs against liqueurs, bourbon and Scotch products - and all wine products affected as well".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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