Trade

EU Holds Fire After WTO Authorizes Tariffs On American Goods

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The World Trade Organization (WTO) formally and officially gave the green light to European tariffs on American goods in response to the latter's illegal subsidies for Boeing just as the WTO once did for American tariffs on European goods in response to their illegal subsidies for Airbus.

Legally speaking, under international trade laws we established decades before Trump came to power, the European Union (EU) can impose tariffs on about $4 billion in American goods as of today, but they aren't rushing to do so.

European officials who spoke off the record explicitly said they're waiting to see what happens next month.

The EU has drawn up a list of American products to hit with levies. And even though it’s targeting politically important industries for President Donald Trump and his Republican allies -- including aircraft, coal, farm products and seafood -- the bloc will likely hold off until after the Nov. 3 election to see if a deal is possible, said the officials, who asked not to be identified discussing private negotiations.

By waiting, the 27-nation EU can try to reboot flagging settlement talks with Trump while waiting to see if discussions might fare better in the event former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic challenger who’s leading several national polls, wins the election. Both Boeing and Airbus called for renewed talks after the decision was made public.

The idea that discussions "might fare better" under Biden made me laugh because it's an impossibly low bar to clear. There is no bar. Trump doesn't discuss these things in the first place.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Trump's trade representative Robert Lighthizer said tariffs on American goods would be illegal, even if the WTO just approved them, and any tariffs would be met with more tariffs of our own.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the top U.S. trade negotiator, said the EU has "no lawful basis to impose tariffs” because the subsidies for Boeing have already been repealed. He suggested the U.S. would consider retaliating if Brussels moved forward with tariffs. “Any imposition of tariffs based on a measure that has been eliminated is plainly contrary to WTO principles and will force a U.S. response,” he said.

The Trump regime says our illegal subsidies for Boeing have already been repealed, but you know what? The European Union says the exact same thing about their subsidies for Airbus. That did not stop Trump from imposing tariffs.

Discussions with the Biden administration will undoubtedly fare better because his administration will actually have some adults in it.

If we don't replace Trump with Biden, this is going to get much worse. The tariffs on European cars and car parts that Trump delayed for years will be imposed if he remains in power.

  • muselet

    It’s good to see the EU acting like a group of grown-ups. Someone has to, and it’s not going to be the Trump administration.

    Robert Lighthizer is either a moron or … funny, I can’t think of an alternative explanation for his comments. WTO has the authority to allow the imposition of tariffs—it’s entirely consistent with “WTO principles”—and any “U.S. response” would not be looked upon favorably by WTO or any of its members.

    This madness needs to end. Soon.

    –alopecia

  • moldilox

    was told trade wars were an easy win … so far nothing !