EU trade chief optimistic about agreement with US to end Airbus-Boeing dispute

The European Union’s trade commissioner has said he is hopeful of ending a 16-year battle over subsidies for airlines and Boeing and removing a deal with the Biden administration to make progress on transatlantic trade relations.

Valdis Dombrovskis told the Financial Times that since Joe Biden’s administration took office in January, the EU and the US have been “extremely closely involved” in resolving their trade disputes.

There is a particular focus on negotiating air subsidies, centered on the joint will of each side to end a dispute over billions of dollars over the past two years between Brussels and Washington.

These tariffs – ranging from French wine to U.S. sugar molasses – are currently suspended after the European Union and the United States. Agreed in March Lifting them for four months, creating a political space for negotiations.

“Work is ongoing and I think there is reason to hope that we will be able to resolve this issue and we will not have to go back to the mutual pressure of these tariffs,” Dumbrovskis said.

Dombrovskis said both sides were working on new rules known as disciplinary measures for future subsidies in the new aviation sector. Asked if the talks could succeed within the four-month window announced on March 5, the commissioner said: “We are currently working with this timeline in mind.”

The controversy is the longest-running lawsuit in WTO history. Both sides have failed to properly enforce WTO panel rulings on illegal grants over the years.

Valdis Dombrovskis: ‘Work in progress and I think there is reason to hope we can solve this problem’ ©Francisco Seko / Pool / Reuters

The consequences have become increasingly apparent in recent years, with European exports to the United States hitting র 7.5 billion in 2019. The European Union imposed additional tariffs on শ 4 billion in exports the year after 2019. Both measures were in accordance with WTO rules for each party.

“I hope we’ll be able to fix it and put it behind us,” Dombrovskis said.

Brussels has proposed a broad six-month moratorium on permanent tariffs in the United States – a move linked to an increase in imported steel and aluminum in line with Trump-era tariffs. This suggestion has not yet been accepted by Washington.

Dombrovsky said the EU wanted a moratorium on tariffs on steel and aluminum so that jointly “the root cause of the problem, which is the excessive loss of global steel”, could be significantly offset by Chinese production.

“So far we are waiting for a concrete response. . . In this proposal, “says Dombrovskis.” From our point of view, this may be the best solution. “

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He said co-operation with the new US administration, including its trade representative Katherine Tai, is growing on issues such as WTO reform and how to deal with “the challenges posed by China’s socio-economic model.”

Brussels has also submitted a proposal to the United States to form a trade and technology council to develop standards in dozens of areas, such as artificial intelligence.

“I will respond first. . . “Widely speaking positively,” Dombrovskis says. “We are waiting for a more specific response from the United States. [We’re] Ready to discuss and prepare a solution that fits both sides “

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