United States threatens tariffs on EU beer, gin, and olives

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The United States has threatened new trade tariffs on beer, chocolate and olives from the European Union, as part of a long-running dispute over subsidies to aircraft maker Airbus.

The United States Trade Representative said he was considering tariffs on 30 products worth $ 3.1 billion (£ 2.5 billion) in trade each year.

It has already put tariffs of 15% to 25% on other EU goods worth $ 7.5 billion as part of the dispute.

The EU warned that it would harm companies on both sides of the Atlantic.

And UK Trade Minister Liz Truss said she was disappointed by the move, warning against the use of tariffs “an eye for an eye.”

The row focuses on EU subsidies awarded to Airbus before 2004, which Washington says created an unfair advantage over US aircraft maker Boeing.

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Last year, the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled that the subsidies were illegal and allowed the United States to impose tariffs on EU goods, including planes, wines and cheese.

But he is now considering a parallel case involving illegal support for Boeing, which could cause the EU to impose tariffs later this year.

The United States said pastry and cakes, gin, cashmere clothing and hardware products could be in the firing line for new tariffs, affecting exporters across the continent.

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Olive farmers have found themselves at the center of a global trade dispute

In a statement, the EU said Washington was going beyond what the WTO allowed.

“It creates uncertainty for companies and inflicts unnecessary economic damage on both sides of the Atlantic,” he added.

“This is particularly the case, as companies are now trying to overcome the economic difficulties after the Covid-19 crisis.”

‘He suffered enough’

Since 2017, the United States has been embroiled in a damaging trade war with China, which it accuses of unfair trade practices and theft of intellectual property. However, it has also trained him to fire on allies, including the EU.

Before last year’s tariffs on Airbus, the Trump administration had imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum from the EU, spurring Brussels to tax iconic US products like jeans and motorcycles.

Trump has also threatened tariffs on European cars, a particular concern for Germany.

Duties imposed by the United States are paid by American companies, which in turn can pass those costs on to consumers. The United States Council of Distilled Spirits said its members had been hit by the Airbus-Boeing dispute.

“The EU and US distilled spirits companies have suffered enough as a result of this trade war. The longer these disputes are resolved, the greater the threat of even more tariffs for our industry.”