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Still No WTO Ruling on EU's Boeing Tariffs

June 25, 2020
A World Trade Organization appellate ruling has been expected for weeks in the EU's case for authorization to counter U.S. penalties, and now no decision is seen before September.

The World Trade Organization will not rule on the European Union's petition to impose import tariffs on U.S. goods for several more weeks, according to sources cited by Reuters. The ruling had been expected since May but now will not be delivered until September at the earliest, according to the report.

While the WTO is thought to be behind schedule due to work disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the bureau has not offered any comment the delayed decision.

The pending ruling will contribute to the long-standing dispute between Airbus and Boeing — and by extension, between the EU and U.S. — over government subsidies to Airbus (by the EU and individual countries there) and Boeing (by the U.S. and individual states.) The outcome also may shape the possibility of a U.S.-EU trade agreement that the Trump administration has proposed.

Specifically, the EU wants the WTO appellate panel to allow it implement penalties totaling about $10 billion.

The WTO last year authorized the U.S. to implement tariffs totaling $7.5 billion on products imported from the E.U., France, Germany, Spain, and the U.K. Airbus products are only part of the list of imports the U.S. is targeting with tariffs.

Testifying in March, the United States Trade Representative told the WTO appellate panel that the U.S. has addressed past findings of subsidies to Boeing Co. and maintaining that there is “no valid basis” for the European Union to penalize imported U.S. goods.  Specifically, the USTR pointed to a tax code detail repealed by the Washington State legislature earlier this year, which had been used by Boeing to save hundreds of millions in corporate income tax over the 16 years it had been in effect.