World Trade Organisation rules that EU can impose tariffs on imports from America

Airbus Sevilla
One of the Airbus factories in Sevilla Credit: Airbus Industries

IT is certainly tit for tat in the battle between the European Union and USA over support for their aircraft manufacturers with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) acting in the middle as each complains about the other.

Put succinctly, both countries submitted complaints to the WTO on October 6, 2004 with the USA complaining that Airbus in France, Germany, Spain and the UK was receiving improper government support to develop the A380 and A350 aircraft.

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The EU complained in turn that Washington State had offered tax breaks to Boeing so that they would to attract the company to produce wings for the 777 and this ran until 2019 when it was withdrawn at the Boeing’s request.

Last year, the WTO ruled on America’s complaint and it has since imposed tariffs to a total of $7.5 billion (€6.4 billion) on imports not just for Airbus aircraft and European aircraft parts, but a whole range of different products including Spanish olives and Scotch whisky.

Now the WTO has completed its review on the EU claim and has approved the imposition of tariffs up to a total of $4 billion (€3.4 billion) on imports from America and the EU has already drawn up a list of goods which will be targeted with new charges.

Airbus is refunding some of the subsidies received from France and Spain in an effort to try to bring the dispute to an end and although both sides say that they want to settle the matter, it is the consumer who will suffer in the meantime.


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