On Wednesday (2 October) the WTO determined that the U.S. is allowed to impose countermeasures against the EU, because EU member states failed to comply with a WTO ruling on government subsidies to aircraft manufacturer Airbus. These U.S. countermeasures, through additional import duties on a wide range of EU products, may not exceed a value of USD 7,496.623 million annually. For the summary of the WTO arbitrator’s key findings, click.
In the meantime, an official with the U.S. Trade Representative’s office has announced that the U.S. will impose 10% tariffs on aircraft and 25% on selected other industrial and agricultural products from the EU. The definitive U.S. retaliation list was released after the WTO had published its decision on the website.
The U.S. has requested for a special meeting of the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) on 14 October, so that the DSB can formally adopt today’s decision. After this rubber stamp adoption by the DSB the U.S can impose these punitive duties. The effective date of the additional duties is 18 October 2019.
EU will take similar measures
After the WTO published the text of the arbitrator's decison on its website this afternoon, EU trade commissioner Malmström released a clear statement and she stated on behalf of the EU that ,,Our readiness to find a fair settlement remains unchanged. But if the U.S. decides to impose WTO authorised countermeasures, it will be pushing the EU into a situation where we will have no other option than do the same.” At this moment, it is not clear whether the EU will wait (until this Spring) to impose punitive duties on U.S. products (including a wide range of oils and fats, e.g. UCO's) as part of the WTO Boeing case or that it will soon trigger an old WTO ruling on U.S. export subsidies to Foreign Sales Corporations (FSC).