The European Union and the United States have agreed to suspend for four months the tariffs they have imposed on each other in a dispute over subsidies to aircraft production.
Since 2004 at the World Trade Organization (WTO), the EU and the US have accused each other of illegally supporting their aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing. Both parties were found to have financially supported their producers in breach of WTO rules to secure a more favorable market position.
In 2019, in retaliation for state aid to Airbus, the United States imposed $ 7.5 billion (CZK 166 billion) in tariffs on European goods annually. Last year, due to Boeing’s subsidies, the EU introduced tariffs on US goods worth four billion dollars (88.5 billion CZK) per year.
Von der Leyen called the phone call with Biden at the beginning of the excellent personal collaboration. “As a symbol of this new beginning, President Biden and I have agreed to suspend all tariffs imposed in connection with the Airbus and Boeing disputes,” she said. “We both intend to focus on resolving our disputes over aircraft,” she added.
Biden and von der Leyen also discussed, for example, the covid-19 pandemic and vaccines and cooperation in environmental protection. They also agreed to strengthen foreign policy cooperation.
According to the EC head, the agreement on tariff suspensions is excellent news for companies on both sides of the Atlantic and a very positive signal for future economic cooperation between the EU and the USA.
“This means a restart in relations with our largest and most economically important partner. The removal of these tariffs is a victory for both parties at a time when a pandemic is damaging our workers and our economies,” said European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis.
Airbus welcomed the agreement to suspend customs duties. “We continue to support that this protracted dispute is resolved through negotiations, thus averting tariffs that are disadvantageous for both parties,” the company said.
On Thursday, the United States announced that it would lift tariffs imposed on British goods on disputes over aircraft manufacturing subsidies for four months. The countries said in a joint statement that they would try to resolve disagreements during this time.
Britain is part of these disputes as a former member of the European Union. Airbus in the UK makes wings and some other components but assembles aircraft in the EU.