EU will stand firm against Washington over trade disputes, says commissioner By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: European Trade Commissioner-designate Phil Hogan attends his hearing before the European Parliament in Brussels

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union will take decisive action against the United States if it’s unwilling to be in a long-running row over aircraft subsidies and presses ahead with a series of new trade investigations, Europe’s trade commissioner said on Monday.

A trade dispute dating back to 2004 over subsidies for Europe’s Airbus (PA:) and U.S. planemaker Boeing (N:) is drawing to a conclusion at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

It has already awarded Washington the proper to impose duties on $7.5 billion of European goods related to subsidies given to Airbus (PA:) but is just expected to rule in September what retaliation Europe may take over support for Boeing.

European Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan told the European Parliament’s trade committee that Washington had twice rejected EU proposals to be in the dispute and that he hoped the WTO would issue its findings as quickly as possible in September.

EU officials said they failed to expect the United States to desire to settle the dispute before then.

“I want to reassure people that we are ready to act decisively and strongly on the European Union side if we don’t get the type of outcome that we expect from the United States in relationship to finalising this 15-year-old dispute,” that he said.

Since U.S. President Donald Trump took office, he has over and over criticised the European Union over its trade surplus in goods and imposed tariffs on metal imports from the EU and threatened to complete the same for cars produced in the bloc.

Hogan said Washington’s recent launch of a few “Section 232” investigations, which measure the impact of imports on U.S. national security, was unacceptable.

The investigations cover mobile cranes and transformers and have been expanded to incorporate steel products and services, such as nails. The United States can also be looking into whether planned EU digital services taxes impede U.S. commerce.

“It’s not appreciated the number of 232 investigations that have been launched in recent weeks, perhaps this is political, perhaps it’s more real,” Hogan said.

“This is totally unacceptable … and if these investigations go further the European Union will have to stand together and act as well,” that he said.

 

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