European trade groups reacted with regret and disappointment Thursday to a US decision to keep tariffs on EU goods in place.
The French wine and spirits exports federation FEVS said the decision “will continue to heavily penalize French exporters.”
The Scottish Whisky Association said the tariff is “inflicting huge damage,” with exports down 30% since the tariff came into effect.
On Wednesday, the US said it would maintain 15% tariffs on Airbus aircraft and 25% tariffs on more than 100 European products, despite EU efforts to resolve a 16-year-old dispute over aircraft subsidies.
The US had received approval from the World Trade Organization (WTO) in October 2019 to impose the tariffs as countermeasures to illegal subsidies for European aircraft manufacturer Airbus.
“The EU and member states have not taken the actions necessary to come into compliance with WTO (World Trade Organization) decisions,” The US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer said in a statement. “The United States, however, is committed to obtaining a long-term resolution to this dispute.”
Airbus said in a statement Wednesday it “profoundly regrets” the decision and “trusts that Europe will respond appropriately to defend its interests and the interests of all European companies and sectors, including Airbus, targeted by these tariffs.”
Step up efforts
In response to the USTR decision, the EU called for intensified efforts to resolve trade disputes with the US.
“The EU believes that both sides should now build on this decision and intensify their efforts to find a negotiated solution to the ongoing trade irritants,” an EU official said.
British Trade Secretary Liz Truss echoed those sentiments on Thursday, saying she would step up negotiations with her US counterpart and urge Washington to drop the tariffs “as soon as possible.”
“These tariffs damage industry and livelihoods on both sides of the Atlantic and are in nobody’s interests,” Truss said in a statement.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) said Wednesday it would also slightly modified the list of European goods subject to the tariffs.
It will remove cheese from Greece and cookies from Great Britain, while adding marmalade from Germany and France. Though it maintained tariffs on other European food, wine and spirits, the USTR did not add tariffs to vodka, gin and beer as it had threatened.
The USTR said the modifications would come into effect on September 1.
dv/rt (dpa, Reuters)
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