EU, US agree to end Airbus-Boeing trade dispute

Photo: AP President Joe Biden, center, walks with European Council President Charles Michel, right, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during the United States-European Union Summit at the European Council in Brussels, 15 June 2021.

The United States and the European Union reached a deal Tuesday to end a damaging dispute over subsidies to rival plane makers Boeing and Airbus and phase out billions of dollars in punitive tariffs, the US trade envoy said.

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said the two sides have come to terms on a five-year agreement to suspend the tariffs at the center of the dispute. She said they could be reimplemented if the US companies are not able to “compete fairly” with those in Europe.

“Today’s announcement resolves a long-standing irritant in the US-EU relationship,” Tai said, as President Joe Biden met with EU leaders in Brussels. “Instead of fighting with one of our closest allies, we are finally coming together against a common threat.”

The dispute saw tit-for-tat duties slapped on a range of companies that have nothing to do with aircraft production, from French winemakers to German cookie bakers in Europe and US spirits producers in the United States, among many others.

The trade dispute skyrocketed under the Trump administration, and saw tit-for-tat duties slapped on a range of companies that have nothing to do with aircraft production, from French winemakers to German cookie bakers in Europe and US spirits producers in the United States, among many others.

The US imposed $7.5 billion in tariffs on European exports in 2019 after the World Trade Organization ruled that the EU had not complied with its rulings on subsidies for Airbus, which is based in France. The EU retaliated last November with $4 billion in punitive duties after the WTO ruled that the US had provided illegal subsidies to Boeing.

President Joe Biden is seeking to tamp down trade tensions with European allies as he spends one last day consulting with Western democracies ahead of his highly anticipated meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. After a pair of summits with Group of Seven world leaders in the UK and then NATO allies in Brussels, Biden meets Tuesday with European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

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