U.S. May Escalate Trade War with EU

By Pan Demetrakakes, Senior Editor

Apr 09, 2019

Products from the European Union, including food, may cost more to import if retaliatory tariffs proposed by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative go into effect.

The USTR has proposed levying new tariffs on a range of products in retaliation for the EU’s continuing to subsidize Airbus, the civil aviation giant. Products potentially targeted include salmon fillets, marsala wine, lemons, olive oil and various kinds of cheese, according to the BBC.

The dispute over airplane subsidies goes back years and goes both ways, with the EU accusing the U.S. of illegally subsidizing Boeing.

The USTR is trying to work within the framework of the World Trade Organization in considering these tariffs. This makes them different from the tariffs on European steel and aluminum imports that President Trump imposed last year, and which sparked retaliatory EU tariffs on products like bourbon, motorcycles and orange juice. Trump imposed the metal tariffs as a matter of national security.

The WTO ruled last year that the EU was in violation of trade rules for its Airbus subsidy. A WTO arbiter will consider the U.S. proposal for new tariffs and rule, probably this summer, on whether they’re justified.