Europe Can Impose Tariffs on U.S. in Long-Running Aircraft Battle


“Airbus did not start this W.T.O. dispute, and we do not wish to continue the harm to the customers and suppliers of the aviation industry and to all other sectors impacted,” Guillaume Faury, the company’s chief executive, said in a statement. “It is time to find a solution now so that tariffs can be removed on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Boeing said it was “disappointed” that Airbus and the European Union had pursued the tariffs even after the tax break’s repeal, but said the company hoped that both would focus “on good-faith efforts to resolve this long-running dispute.” The European Union had asked the W.T.O. to authorize more than $8.5 billion in annual tariffs, while the United States said they should not exceed $412 million.

In a statement, Robert E. Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative, said that the European Union had no valid basis to impose tariffs since Washington had already repealed its tax break, and that the United States would seek more negotiations with Europe.

“Any imposition of tariffs based on a measure that has been eliminated is plainly contrary to W.T.O. principles and will force a U.S. response,” he said. “The United States is determined to find a resolution to this dispute that addresses the massive subsidies European governments have provided to Airbus and the harm to U.S. aerospace workers and businesses.”

Valdis Dombrovskis, the European Commissioner for Trade, said in a statement that while the decision allowed the European Union to impose tariffs on American products, it would do so “reluctantly.”

“I have been engaging with my American counterpart, Ambassador Lighthizer, and it is my hope that the U.S. will now drop the tariffs imposed on E.U. exports last year,” he said. “If it does not happen, we will be forced to exercise our rights and impose similar tariffs.”

Ole Moehr, an associate director at the Atlantic Council’s GeoEconomics Center, said that, in the short run, there were likely to be more barriers to trade than before, but that the ruling might ultimately “open the door for a trans-Atlantic trade détente.”


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