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US, EU officials renew talks to resolve Boeing-Airbus subsidy dispute

US and EU trade officials have stepped up to settle a long-running dispute over aircraft subsidies before the January 20 inauguration of the new presidential term, reports Bloomberg

07 December 2020 - 04:54
US and EU trade officials have stepped up to settle a long-running dispute over aircraft subsidies before the January 20 inauguration of the new presidential term, reports Bloomberg.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and his EU counterpart, Valdis Dombrovskis, are in regular contact on the case involving Boeing and AirbusE, according to sources.



Both sides have imposed tariffs on each other's products - punitive measures authorised by the World Trade Organisation - that remain in place unless a settlement is reached.



In an emailed statement, the European Commission confirmed being in contact with US officials, repeating that the EU is ready to withdraw all of its tariffs tied to the dispute if the US does, too.



For the US, relief from the EU's tariffs would come at a good time: Ireland's Ryanair is near an agreement to order more Boeing 737 Max aircraft, boosting Boeing after the jet has been grounded for 20 months.



The latest push for talks between Washington and Brussels is aimed at resolving a 16-year dispute at the Geneva-based WTO, which ruled that both the US and the EU excessively subsidised their aerospace industries in violation of their commitments.



Germany, France, Spain and Britain provided Airbus with subsidies through loans for development, equity infusions, debt forgiveness and various other financial means. In the US, Boeing benefited from subsidies through a since-withdrawn Washington state business and occupation tax break.



Last October, the WTO authorised the EU to retaliate with tariffs on US$4 billion worth of US imports annually. That ruling came nearly a year after the WTO authorised the US in a parallel dispute to impose tariffs on $7.5 billion of French, German, Spanish and British goods.


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