EU Ready for New Sanctions Against the US, but Hopes for Improvement under Biden

On Monday, the EU trade ministers held a videoconference during which they expressed their willingness to impose retaliatory customs sanctions against the United States in the context of the European-American dispute over illegal government subsidies to Airbus and Boeing.

The parties accuse each other of government subsidies to airlines, which violates fair competition rules.

In mid-October, the Arbitration Court of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruled that the EU could impose additional import duties on American goods worth a total of $4 billion. A year earlier, the WTO had allowed Washington to impose additional duties on European goods worth a total of approximately $7.5 billion per year due to Airbus subsidies provided by European authorities.

Back in October, the European Commission welcomed the WTO’s decision to retaliate against the United States, but said it would not hurry to use it. « The additional duties do not serve the economic interests of either party, especially when we are all trying to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, » said Valdis Dombrovskis, Head of the EU Directorate of Trade.

At the videoconference, Mr. Dombrovskis confirmed the mood to impose retaliatory sanctions against the USA, but added that « we remain open to the negotiation process. Our proposal is for both parties to give up barring tariffs. However, the US does not agree to this yet ».

For his part, German Economics Minister Peter Altmaier said that there is « great hope in the EU that the U.S. presidential election will provide an opportunity to return to multilateralism in dealing with international trade issues. Such an approach will make it possible to overcome past conflicts.


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