US authorities have imposed additional tariffs on a number of goods from the European Union, including aircraft-related parts and wines from France and Germany.
According to a Wednesday statement from the US Trade Representative’s office, when the EU set tariffs for some American products, Brussels used data from a period in which “trade volumes had been drastically reduced” due to coronavirus-related restrictions.
“The result of this choice was the Europe imposed tariffs on substantially more products than would have been covered if it had utilized a normal period. Although the United States explained to the EU the distortive effect of its selected time period, the EU refused to change its approach”, the statement says.
Here's USTR's announcement explaining why they are ratcheting up their retaliation against the EU in the Airbus-Boeing subsidy dispute. pic.twitter.com/YGUxDOfLZC— Doug Palmer (@tradereporter) December 30, 2020
According to USTR, for that reason Washington expanded its list of European duty products, adding some alcohol products from France and Germany, along with aircraft-manufacturing parts.
Transatlantic trade dispute
The trade conflict between Washington and Brussels over Boeing and Airbus has been ongoing since 2004. Both sides accuse each other of violating WTO rules and providing unauthorized government subsidies to their aircraft builders.
In 2019, the WTO decided that there were violations of the organization's rules in the Airbus case, which gave the legal right to impose countervailing duties from the US. However, in 2020, a similar decision was made in favor of the EU in the Boeing case.
The administration of the outgoing US president, Donald Trump, in 2019 introduced customs tariffs against the EU in the Airbus case for a total of about $7.5 billion. In November, the EU announced new tariffs on $4 billion worth of imports from the US.
The ongoing trade disagreements are far from being resolved although both sides have repeatedly claimed that they intend to negotiate for a mutually-acceptable solution. Nevertheless, last month, the European Parliament green-lighted the bloc’s first tariff reduction agreement, “lobster deal”, with the US in over 20 years.