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US Sticks by Tariffs in Boeing-Airbus Trade Dispute

Feb. 12, 2021
Both United States and European Union have won rulings from the World Trade Organization that permit punitive tariffs over alleged unfair trade practices.

President Joe Biden's administration said Thursday it will maintain punitive tariffs on some European imports as part the long-running trade dispute between Boeing and Airbus.

In a notice due to be published in the Federal Register on Friday, the US Trade Representative (USTR) said "it is unnecessary at this time to revise" the levies.

Since coming to power last month Biden has suggested he will not modify the latest tariffs enacted by his predecessor Donald Trump. These took effect January 12.

But Biden has said he wants to restore good ties with traditional US allies, including the countries of the European Union, after they came under severe strain with Trump's "America First" approach to trade and foreign policy.

The United States and European Union have since 2004 been squabbling over alleged unfair trade practices, with both sides claiming the other provided support to private companies, such as aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Airbus, in violation of international trade agreements.

Both sides have won rulings from the World Trade Organization that permit punitive tariffs.

In December the USTR announced new tariffs on aircraft parts, wine, cognac and brandies from France and Germany, adding to a long list of products from EU countries that have been subject to 25 percent duties since 2019.

After a WTO ruling in October, the EU in November levied additional customs duties on $4 billion worth of American products including Boeing planes and also farm produce, such as wheat and tobacco, plus strong alcohol and chocolate.

The notice released Thursday in Washington said, "the US Trade Representative will continue to consider the action taken in this investigation."

In a phone call on January 24, French President Emmanuel Macron suggested to Biden that they broker a settlement to the trade dispute, CNBC reported.

The network said the Biden administration was non-committal on the idea.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2020

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