The United States on Wednesday announced additional customs duties on French and German products, amid a long-standing dispute over support for European Airbus and US Boeing giants.
The US Trade Representative said in a statement that the new fees will include “the parts of manufacturing the French and German planes” and kinds of wines and spirits that will be added to a list of products from the European countries, which were charged extra since 2019.
The US official considered in his statement that this step comes in response to the European Union’s unfair imposition of fees on US products.
This decision is the latest in a 16-year-old trade battle over mutual accusations of support for aircraft industry outside the legal framework, and has been fueled by President Donald Trump’s protectionist policy.
The decision comes despite hopes for a trade truce after Joe Biden won the presidential elections.
The World Trade Organization has approved this year the European Union to impose additional customs duties on the US products.
But Washington believes that it has been punished in the way it used to charge fees, which, according to Trump’s administration, led to excessive European charges on US products.
“In implementing the imposition of its customs duties, the European Union has used trade data dating back to a period in which trade volume has declined significantly due to the horrific effects of COVID-19 on the world economy,” the statement said.
“The result was that Europe imposed more customs duties on products than would have been done in the case of other normal period data. Although the United States has made clear to the EU the distortion effect of this specific time period, the Union has refused to change its approach.”
He pointed out that as a result, the United States found itself “obliged to change the period it uses as a reference for the same trade period as the European Union”.
The disagreement on the aviation industry precedes Trump’s arrival to the White House, but Washington seized the opportunity to impose $7.5 billion customs on the European products after taking the World Trade Organization’s approval last year.
Last March, Washington imposed a 25% penalty fee on famous EU products such as wine, cheese, olive oil, and 15% on Airbus planes.