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EU to Respond 'Decisively' If U.S. Imposes Tariffs

July 8, 2020
In the ongoing Airbus/Boeing subsidy dispute, the European Trade Commissioner promised to respond "decisively and strongly" to any tariffs imposed on manufactured goods.

The European Trade Commissioner said the EU will respond "decisively and strongly" if the United States expands the scope of tariffs imposed on exports of manufactured goods, as expected. "I want to reassure people that we are ready to act decisively and strongly on the European Union side if we don't get the type of outcome that we expect from the United States in relationship to finalizing this 15-year-old dispute," EU Trade Commission Phil Hogan stated in comments to

Hogan was referring to the situation involving parallel charges of subsidies to Airbus (by the EU and individual nations) and Boeing (by the U.S. and the State of Washington), and the World Trade Organization's ruling that both sides were liable for injuries cause to the opposing claimants. On the basis of those rulings, both the U.S. and EU appealed to the WTO appellate panel seeking authorization to impose tariffs to address the past injuries.

Last October, on strength of the WTO appellate ruling approving U.S. tariffs on EU imports, the Trump Administration outlined penalties totaling $7.5 billion/year on imports from the E.U., France, Germany, Spain, and the U.K.

For months, a parallel ruling decision has been expected on an EU appeal to impose tariffs on U.S. exports to Europe.

In May, U.S. Trade Representative told the WTO appellate panel that the U.S. has addressed past findings of subsidies to Boeing Co. and maintained that there is “no valid basis” for the European Union to penalize imported U.S. goods.

In June, it was reported that the WTO appellate panel will not rule on the EU petition for several more weeks, perhaps not until September, as a result of delays resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hogan also addressed the U.S. "Section 232" inquiries designed to determine if various EU imports pose a threat to U.S. national security, and suggested these too may prompt a coordinated response.

"This is totally unacceptable," he said of the Section 232 investigations into steel products, electrical transformers, and other products. "If these investigations go further, the European Union will have to stand together and act as well."

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