The World Trade Organisation (WTO) gave the green light Monday for Brussels to impose tariffs on $4.0 billion in US imports annually in retaliation against subsidies for planemaker Boeing.
The two sides have been locked in a 16-year-old dispute at the WTO over aid to their aircraft industries in a pair of cases that together represent the world’s largest corporate dispute. Last year, the WTO gave approval to $7.5 billion in US tariffs against the EU for its support of Airbus.
Earlier this month, the WTO had ruled that the retaliatory sanctions were warranted, but the move needed an approval by the organisation’s 164 member states.
“WTO members approved the European Union’s request for authorisation to impose retaliatory measures against the United States for its failure to comply with the WTO ruling regarding US government subsidies for Boeing”, a WTO official said on Monday.
“The United States strongly favours a negotiated resolution of its dispute with the EU over the massive launch aid subsidies it provided to Airbus. The United States has recently provided proposals for a reasonable settlement that would provide a level playing field”, a US delegation said on Monday.
Brussels said it has no immediate plan to apply the tariffs, but rather seeks leverage to force a negotiated deal with the US that would lead Washington to drop its own punitive tariffs from 2019.