EU List of Retaliatory Targets Includes Many Ag Items

Posted on 04/17/2019 3:13 PM

The European Union released an 11-page list of U.S. products worth $20 billion that it planned to hit with tariffs in response to a subsidy dispute regarding U.S. plane maker Boeing and its European rival Airbus. The World Trade Organization has been working on the case for 15 years, and is expected to issue a ruling on the U.S. case against Airbus this summer. Its decision on the EU’s Boeing complaint could come early next year.

The recent escalation of the long-running dispute comes after the U.S. last week released a seven-page list of $11 billion worth of EU products it may hit with tariffs. Washington further soured relations yesterday when it said it would end a ban against U.S. citizens filing lawsuits against foreign companies operating in Cuba, a move that is expected to impact EU firms.

The EU list of targets covers a wide variety of products, including a number of agriculture ones such as some forms of soybean oil, wheat, cotton, tractors, fish, wine and dried fruit. Of note, that list does not include soybeans, a commodity the country had pledged to promote. An EU official says the list was developed with the goal of having minimal impact on EU business while still serving as a deterrent to the United States. The list is open to public consultation until May 31 and could be revised. 

Both sides have said they would prefer a settlement to implementing these tit-for-tat tariffs. Meanwhile, the European Union on Monday said it was ready to begin trade talks with the U.S., but it continues to resist the inclusion of agriculture in the negotiations. Washington insists that farm products be part of the discussions and has threatened tariffs on European cars and auto parts if they are not.

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