The World Trade Organization says the U.S. can move forward with plans to impose some $7.5 billion in tariffs on EU goods annually, to counteract years of European loans and illegal subsidies to Airbus.
The decision comes after a years-long dispute over European Union countries’ roles in building Airbus into a global player — and a fierce competitor to U.S. aerospace giant Boeing.
But the clash is far from over: The WTO will likely rule in the coming months on the EU’s own request to levy tariffs on the U.S. over its aid to Boeing. For a sign of how deep this clash runs, consider that in the WTO’s 156-page decision against Airbus and the EU, Boeing is mentioned nearly 850 times.
In its ruling, the WTO says the U.S. can retaliate by suspending tariff concessions and other elements of trade agreements with Europe.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has already drawn up a list of European tariff targets, from hams, cheeses and olives to Irish and Scotch whiskies.