Airbus dispute: US threatens EU with $11B in tariffs

The European Union is firing back at the latest tariff threat by the U.S.

On Tuesday, the European bloc threatened to prepare its own tariffs against the U.S. for allegedly providing illegal subsidies to Boeing, one day after the U.S. proposed to impose tariffs worth $11 billion on a slew of European goods, a direct retaliation for the EU's alleged illegal subsidies to Airbus.

Daniel Rosario, a spokesperson for the European Commission, said the European governing body remains open to discussions, so long as they’re not based on pre-conditions.

"The Commission is starting preparations so that the EU can promptly take action based on the arbitrator's decision on retaliation rights in this case,” Rosario said.

On Monday, the United States Trade Representative proposed the $11 billion in tariffs, which he said were in response to $11 billion in trade damages from EU subsidies to Airbus. The suggested tariff amount is subject to an arbitration at the World Trade Organization, which is expected to be issued this summer.

“Our ultimate goal is to reach an agreement with the EU to end all WTO-inconsistent subsidies to large civil aircraft,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said. “When the EU ends these harmful subsidies, the additional U.S. duties imposed in response can be lifted.”

The dispute dates back to 2004, when the U.S. first accused the EU of subsidizing aircraft produced by Airbus and brought it to the attention of the WTO. The case is still unresolved. The EU, however, has also accused the U.S. of illegally subsidizing Boeing -- the main rival of Airbus. The WTO has found that both the EU and the U.S. doled out subsidies.


President Trump also waded into the dispute on Twitter Tuesday morning, criticizing the EU for taking advantage of U.S. trade for “many years.”

“It will soon stop!” he wrote.