US maintain tariffs on Airbus, EU urged to respond

The Airbus A320neo aircraft takes off for its first flight from the airport of Toulouse-Blagnac, southern France, 25 September 2014 (reissued 30 July 2020). [EPA-EFE/GUILLAUME HORCAJUELO]

The US government said on Wednesday (12 August) it would maintain 15% tariffs on Airbus aircraft and 25% tariffs on other European goods, despite moves by the EU to resolve a long-standing dispute over aircraft subsidies.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the EU had not taken actions necessary to come into compliance with World Trade Organization decisions, and Washington would initiate a new process to try to reach a long-term solution.

Lighthizer’s office said it would modify its list of $7.5 billion (around €6.3 billion) of affected European products to remove certain goods from Greece and Britain, adding an equivalent amount of goods from Germany and France.

Airbus reacted by saying it regretted a US decision to keep in place the levies on their aircraft despite the latest EU measures taken to comply with WTO rulings, and said it expected the institution to defend European interests.

“Airbus profoundly regrets that, despite Europe’s recent actions to achieve full compliance, USTR (US Trade Representative) has decided to maintain tariffs on Airbus aircraft -especially at a time when aviation and other sectors are going through an unprecedented crisis,” Airbus spokesman Clay McConnell said in a statement.

“Airbus trusts that Europe will respond appropriately to defend its interests and the interests of all the European companies and sectors, including Airbus, targeted by these tariffs,” McConnell added.

Airbus and EU see end to US subsidies spat with final concessions

Aerospace giant Airbus announced on Friday (24 July) that it has made changes to existing aircraft contracts in order to come into line with a World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling on subsidies. The firm and the EU both insist that it “removes any justification for US tariffs”.

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