EU seeks plane subsidy deal, but US not willing to talk

Bloc's trade chief Cecilia Malmstrom says that if the US keeps refusing dialogue, other actions would be needed

Photo: EPA European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom

The European Union is urging the United States to hold off trade sanctions and seek an agreement on aircraft industry subsidies, but Washington has shown no desire to negotiate, EU trade chief Cecilia Malmstrom said on Monday.

The World Trade Organisation has approved a US request to impose tariffs on European goods as part of a 15-year dispute over subsidies for US planemaker Boeing and European rival Airbus, people familiar with the case told Reuters. The Geneva-based body, however is set to announce the scope of the sanctions in the week starting 30 September. It is also expected to clear the European Union to take action against US imports early next year.

“Our view is that we have enough tariffs in the world as it is... The US president likes to make deals so we have offered to try to make a deal to find a negotiated solution,” EU Trade Commissioner Malmstrom told a briefing. She reminded that back in July the bloc presented a proposal to discuss issues raised by the cases, including aid for program development, repayable launch investment and tax subsidies.

“So far, unfortunately, the US has not said that they are willing to negotiate, at least not until they have imposed their tariffs, which they are likely to do quite soon,” Malmstrom added.

The European Union has drawn up a list of US imports, including aircraft, chemicals and food, worth $20bn in readiness for a WTO decision likely to be early next year in the Boeing subsidy case. Still, Malmstrom expressed hope that the bloc would not have to use it.

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