On April 8, 2019, the Trump administration released a list (see Annex) of $11 billion of European goods threatened with tariffs because of the WTO decision finding that “harmful subsidies” support the aircraft manufacturer Airbus. This case had been in litigation at the WTO for 14 years. It began in 2004 when the United States first challenged European government support for Airbus. The EU then challenged U.S. federal and state support for Boeing. The WTO ruled that the EU and the four governments involved in Airbus failed to comply with an earlier ruling that they should withdraw contested subsidies. The US then asked for authorization to retaliate in the amount of $11 billion dollars. These proposed tariffs against the EU would be imposed in addition to those already in place for European products.
Unites States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the U.S. issued the proposed $11 billion list in order to “respond immediately when the WTO issues its finding on the value of U.S. countermeasures. The USTR press release may be found here.
The annex of goods is part of an unpublished Federal Register Notice entitled, “Initiation of Investigation; Notice of Hearing and Request for Public Comments: Enforcement of U.S. WTO Rights in Large Civil Aircraft Dispute”, which includes, among other things, aircraft and aircraft parts, as well as traditional European specialty products including certain cheeses and wines.
In addition to the tariff list, it includes the following schedule:
|Submission of requests to appear at the public hearing and summary of testimony||May 6, 2019|
|Section 301 Committee Public Hearing||May 15, 2019|
|Submission of written comments, including post-hearing rebuttal comments||May 28, 2019|
A WTO arbitrator has not yet ruled on this case, therefore the amount of retaliation remains undetermined until later this summer at the earliest. The EU said proposing to place tariffs on $11 billion dollars’ worth of goods is excessive.