U.S trade war hits EU consumer goods
October 4, 2019 - The Trump administration is to impose 25% tariffs on a wide range of imports from the EU, including single malt Scotch whisky, cheese, olives and clothing in retaliation for state aid given to Airbus.
On October 2 the Geneva-based The World Trade Organization (WTO) authorised the U.S. to slap 100 per cent levies on $7.5 billion of EU goods annually, to counteract years of European loans and illegal subsidies to Airbus.
The decision comes after a 15-year battle in which the U.S. had claimed that the EU gave $22 billion in state aid to Airbus to help launch its A380 and A350 jets.
Washington is limiting the hit, at least for now. New aeroplanes from the EU will be subject to a 10 per cent levy, while other agricultural and industrial products will face 25 per cent tariffs.
Senior officials from the U.S. trade representative’s office said that levies would be in place on EU goods by October 18.
Twenty-five per cent tariffs will apply to whiskies, pullovers and bed linens from the UK; coffee, knives and machinery from Germany; French wine and olives and Spanish olive oil.
The levies target the four countries that back the Airbus consortium -- UK, France, Germany and Spain -- however, Italy has found itself in the crosshairs too. Italy’s Parmigiano Reggiano consortium, for parmesan makers, said the 25 per cent tariffs would lift the cost to U.S. consumers to $45 per kilo. Italian makers fear a drop in U.S. imports of parmesan will result in a glut remaining in Europe, causing price drops.
The dispute is far from over -- the WTO is due to rule in the coming months on the EU’s own request to levy tariffs on the U.S. over $23.7 billion of aid to Boeing.
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