U.S. to hit EU with 25% tariff on certain ag imports after landmark WTO ruling

October 02 , 2019

The U.S. has announced that it will soon apply an additional 25% tariff on some agricultural imports from the European Union (EU) following a landmark World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling.

The U.S. on Wednesday won the largest arbitration award in WTO history - US$7.5bn - in its dispute with the EU over subsidies to aerospace corporation Airbus.

U.S. authorities have requested that the WTO schedule a meeting on Oct. 14 to approve a U.S. request for authorization to take countermeasures against the EU, according to a statement from the United States Trade Representative's (USTR) office.

Pursuant to the entity's rules, the WTO will provide this authorization automatically at that meeting. The EU is not allowed to retaliate against WTO-authorized countermeasures.

The affected products include cheese, whiskey, cherries, cherry juice, pear juice, olives, olive oil, wine and pork. Click here to see the full list.

The tariffs will be applied to "a range of imports from EU Member States", the USTR said, although the bulk of the tariffs will be associated with products from France, Germany, Spain, and the U.K.

The U.S. has the authority to increase the tariffs at any time, or change the products affected, it said.

"For years, Europe has been providing massive subsidies to Airbus that have seriously injured the U.S. aerospace industry and our workers," U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said.  

"Finally, after 15 years of litigation, the WTO has confirmed that the United States is entitled to impose countermeasures in response to the EU’s illegal subsidies.

"Accordingly, the United States will begin applying WTO-approved tariffs on certain EU goods beginning October 18. We expect to enter into negotiations with the European Union aimed at resolving this issue in a way that will benefit American workers."

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