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U.S. Set to Impose Retaliatory Tariffs on $7.5 Billion in EU Goods Following WTO’s Airbus Ruling

On Oct. 2, 2019, the World Trade Organization (WTO) authorized the United States to impose tariffs on $7.5 billion worth of products annually from the European Union (EU) in response to the EU’s illegal subsidies. This is the largest arbitration award in the WTO’s history.

This decision follows the United States’ 15-year dispute with the EU over subsidies being given to Airbus. The U.S. alleged that Europe has been providing massive subsidies to Airbus that have seriously injured the U.S. aerospace industry and its workers and are inconsistent with WTO obligations. Because the EU failed to comply with prior WTO rulings, this latest WTO ruling allows the U.S. to apply retaliatory tariffs until the harmful EU subsidies are removed.

According to U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. will begin applying tariffs on certain EU goods beginning on Oct. 18.

The U.S. has the authority to apply a 100% tariff on affected EU products; however, at this time the tariff increases will be limited to 10% on large civil aircrafts and 25% on agricultural and other products. The list of products currently affected by these tariffs are primarily from France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom, which are the four countries the WTO deemed responsible for the illegal subsidies. These products include Scotch whiskies, sweaters, coats, coffee, waffles, frozen meat, olives, fresh cheeses and wine, to name a few. The products that have not been included on the final list include, but are not limited to, uncooked pasta, cast iron, tubes, pipes, and sodium nitrate. Notably, the U.S. has decided not to impose additional duties on certain products following public comments on the initial proposed list.

To obtain more information, contact the Barnes & Thornburg attorney with whom you work or David Spooner at 202-371-6377 or david.spooner@btlaw.com, Linda Weinberg at 202-408-6902 or linda.weinberg@btlaw.com, Timo Rehbock at 312-214-4592 or timo.rehbock@btlaw.com, or Adetayo Osuntogun at 202-371-6365 or adetayo.osuntogun@btlaw.com.

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This Barnes & Thornburg LLP publication should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer on any specific legal questions you may have concerning your situation.



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