The International Trade Council (ITC) welcomes the decision by the United States and the European Union to temporarily suspend the tariffs on each other's goods, which were imposed as retaliation over subsidies provided to Airbus and Boeing, respectively. The four-month suspension, which affects billions of dollars' worth of goods, including wine, cheese, and tractors, comes as a positive step towards resolving the nearly two-decade-old trade dispute.
The suspension, effective from March 11, was announced a day after the US agreed to suspend its tariffs on UK imports in the same dispute, signalling a "fresh start" for trade relations between the US and EU. The ITC sees this development as a positive outcome, as the trade war has been hurting workers and economies in the US, EU and the UK.
Valdis Dombrovskis, European Commission Executive Vice-President and Trade Commissioner, calls the suspension a "reset" for the US-EU trade relationship, which had grown strained under the previous US administration. He further added that removing the tariffs would restore confidence and trust, providing the two sides with the necessary space to negotiate a long-lasting solution.
The dispute between the US and EU over aircraft subsidies has been ongoing since the early 2000s. In 2019, the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled that the EU had illegally provided support to Airbus, while a year later, the US received a similar verdict for its support to Boeing, leading to the tariffs.
While both sides have taken measures to remove the illegal subsidies, it was unclear whether tariffs would be lifted under the previous US administration, which had embraced such taxes as part of its trade policy. However, with the change in administration, there is renewed hope that a comprehensive and long-lasting solution can be found.
The ITC believes that lifting the tariffs will provide much-needed relief to businesses and workers, especially those affected by the pandemic. The council remains committed to working towards a positive trade relationship between the US and EU, and to finding mutually beneficial solutions that will benefit businesses and communities on both sides of the Atlantic.