Trade

Trump May Impose Tariffs on European Goods Soon

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The Trump regime has threatened to impose tariffs on European goods in retaliation for the European Union's subsidies for aerospace giant Airbus and those tariffs could be just a week or two away if the words of Trump's ambassador to the EU are taken at face value.

Trump has based his threats on the World Trade Organization's (WTO) finding that the EU has subsidized Airbus above a level that is considered legal and tariffs could be imposed as soon as this month when the WTO decides how large the tariffs should be.

Trump's ambassador to the EU says talks to avoid another trade war have "gone nowhere" and the WTO is expected to issue a ruling within the next two weeks.

Ambassador Gordon Sondland said the two sides could still reach an agreement to settle a pair of 15-year-old legal cases over subsidies for aircraft development, but Washington hoped to recover damages caused to U.S. industry by the illegal EU launch aid for Airbus.

Brussels is pressing Washington to skip tariffs since the EU has also won a WTO judgment against U.S. aid to Boeing and expects a WTO decision on allowable tariffs in several months. But Sondland said previous informal conversations with the EU about a settlement had "really gone nowhere."

Asked if Washington would impose the tariffs regardless of any settlement talks with Brussels, he said the decision was up to U.S. President Donald Trump.

The European Union has illegally subsidized Airbus.

The United States has illegally subsidized Boeing.

Both sides know this and yet no previous administration has waged a trade war over the issue because they weren't raging idiots. Imposing tariffs on European wine, among other things, will not convince the EU that they should stop subsidizing Airbus. All it will do is invite retaliation from the EU. There's no other endgame. This is government by Underpants Gnomes.

This will be another war Trump cannot win, but he will claim he's "winning" up until the day he's out of office. And possibly not even then.

  • muselet

    The European Union has illegally subsidized Airbus.

    The United States has illegally subsidized Boeing.

    The EU is trying to avoid tit-for-tat tariffs.

    The US is pressing forward with tit-for-tat tariffs.

    One of the parties to this dispute is acting sensibly and one is acting stupidly.

    It’s pretty clear which is which.

    –alopecia

  • gescove

    Small comfort, but if these tariffs are imposed, there at least would be a valid, if stupid, legal basis. Not Trump playing Emperor and declaring European wine a threat to national security.