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EU tariffs to target €20b of US imports

EU tariffs to target €20b of US imports

BRUSSELS: The European Commission has drawn up a list of US imports worth around €20 billion ($22.6 billion) that it could hit with tariffs over a transatlantic aircraft subsidy dispute, EU diplomats said on Monday.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened to impose tariffs on $11 billion worth of European Union products over what Washington sees as unfair subsidies given to European planemaker Airbus.

The EU measures would relate to the bloc’s World Trade Organization complaint over subsidies to rival Boeing. WTO arbitrators have yet to set final amounts of potential countermeasures in each case.

The commission said earlier this week that it had begun preparatory work on countermeasures in the Boeing case. However, it signaled it was open for talks with the US, provided these were without preconditions and aimed to achieve a fair outcome.

EU diplomats said the Commission was expected to publish a list of products on April 17 and begin a process of public consultation, after which the list could then be adjusted. The final amount decided by the WTO arbitrator could also be lower. The EU had also initially requested that the WTO authorise countermeasures of $12 billion. US and China seek deal to prevent trade-war escalation

The arbitrator’s decision may not come before March 2020. In the US case, a WTO decision could come in June or July this year.  “You could say the Commission is preparing early, provoked by the US,” one EU diplomat said.

The dispute between the US and Europe over mutual claims of illegal aid to plane giants to help them gain advantage in the world jet business has dragged on for years. The case, which has been grinding its way through the WTO for almost 15 years, is approaching the final stages of arbitration after partial victories for both sides. Automakers brace for US govt report on import tariffs

Trump’s public attack on the EU came as his administration tries to hammer out a trade deal with China after imposing punitive tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods.

The EU is expected next week to give final clearance to the start of formal trade talks with the US that could lead to the removal of duties on industrial goods and ease transatlantic tensions.