On August 12, 2020, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) released an updated list of goods from the European Union (EU) that will continue to be subject to retaliatory tariffs as part of the dispute settlement at the World Trade Organization (WTO) over Airbus subsidies. In June 2020, USTR sought public comment on a proposal to possibly modify the list of EU products subject to the tariffs and whether such products should be subject to additional duties. See Update of June 25, 2020. The announced changes yesterday were minimal. The USTR determined that the amount of products subject to WTO retaliatory tariffs will remain unchanged at $7.5 billion and the tariff rates will remain unchanged at 15% for aircraft and 25% for all other products.
The USTR is removing from the list certain cheeses from Greece and sweet biscuits from the United Kingdom and adding an equivalent amount of trade from France and Germany with tariffs on various fruit jams, pastes and purees. The changes will take effect on September 1, 2020. In a press statement, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer commented: “The EU and member states have not taken the actions necessary to come into compliance with WTO decisions … The United States, however, is committed to obtaining a long-term resolution to this dispute. Accordingly, the United States will begin a new process with the EU in an effort to reach an agreement that will remedy the conduct that harmed the U.S. aviation industry and workers and will ensure a level playing field for U.S. companies.”
For additional background on this longstanding dispute between the United States and the EU over alleged subsidies provided to Airbus and Boeing and the implementation of these tariffs, see our Updates of October 4, 2019 and December 9, 2019.