U.S. wins backing for $7.5 billion of tariffs on Europe in Airbus clash

U.S. wins backing for $7.5 billion of tariffs on Europe in Airbus clash
  • Clock-gray 23:09
  • calendar-gray 02 October 2019

The United States won approval on Wednesday to slap import tariffs on $7.5 billion worth of European goods over illegal EU subsidies handed to Airbus, threatening to trigger a tit-for-tat transatlantic trade war as the global economy falters, APA reports citing Reuters.

The decision by the World Trade Organization pushes a 15-year corporate dispute over illegal support for plane giants to the center of caustic world trade relations and comes on top of a tariff war between Washington and Beijing.

WTO arbitrators said U.S. planemaker Boeing had lost the equivalent to $7.5 billion a year in sales and disruption to deliveries of some of its largest aircraft because of cheap European government loans to arch-rival Airbus).

The decision, confirming a figure reported by Reuters last week, allows Washington to target the same value of EU goods, but bars any retaliation against European financial services.

It is part of a two-way dispute that diplomats and trade experts expect to lead to tit-for-tat European import tariffs against U.S. goods next year over state subsidies for Boeing.

In a sign that Washington plans to fast-track its measures, people familiar with the case said the Trump administration had asked the WTO for an emergency meeting to give the formal ratification needed for tariffs in mid-October.

U.S. trade officials were also expected to unveil later on Wednesday a keenly awaited final list of European goods to be hit, after initially floating $25 billion of targets from planes to helicopters, wine, cheese, spirits and luxury goods.

Broad selling amid worries over slowing global growth that had punished European stocks earlier on Wednesday accelerated as the ruling revived worries about damage to the already-ailing regional economy. The pan European STOXX 600 index was down 2.5%, on track for its worst day since December 2018.

Airbus shares closed down 2%.

The European Commission said U.S. sanctions would be “short-sighted and counterproductive”.

Faiq Mahmudov

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