Europe News

EU to impose tariffs on up to $4 billion of U.S. products

Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice President of the European Commission for An Economy that Works for People.

LONDON — The European Union will slap tariffs on up to $4 billion worth of U.S. products Monday, after what it described as a "lack of progress" from America on resolving a long-standing dispute over aircraft subsidies.

The EU and the U.S. have been at odds over the issue since 2006. The World Trade Organization agreed last year that the EU did not follow best trade practices when granting aid to Airbus. In light of that decision, the U.S. imposed duties on $7.5 billion of imported goods from Europe.

Last month, the WTO also ruled that the United States did not comply with international rules when providing subsidies to Boeing. As a result, the EU has said it is now going ahead with up to $4 billion in tariffs.

"We have made clear at every stage that we want to settle this long-running issue. Regrettably, in spite of our best efforts, due to the lack of progress from the U.S. side, we can confirm that the European Union will later today exercise our rights and impose the countermeasures awarded to us by the WTO in respect of Boeing," Europe's trade chief, Valdis Dombrovskis, said on Monday during a press conference.

He said the list of the new tariffs will be published Monday afternoon and will come to an effect on Tuesday.

However, despite the decision to impose tariffs, the EU wants to overcome the dispute as soon as possible.

Speaking to journalists, Dombrovskis said the EU will remove the duties if the United States does the same.

"We are not escalating anything, we are exercising our rights," the former Latvian prime minister said.

The decision from Europe comes soon after NBC projected that Joe Biden will become the next U.S. president.

A win by Biden is seen as a positive development in this particular dispute over aircraft subsidies.

"We offered our warm congratulations to President-elect Biden. We will have a full 'transatlantic to-do list'," Dombrovskis said.

"The key areas are WTO reform and trade and climate change. We should also work to jointly establish a trade and technology council where we could cooperate on new technologies and digital services and be aligned on regulation and standards."

Trade and technology have been two of the most contentious issues in EU-U.S. relations over the last few years, with current President Donald Trump threatening higher duties on different European goods as some governments legislated higher taxes on Big Tech.