WTO awards US record $7.5 billion in dispute with EU

14:37 | 06/10/2019 Global Economy

U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday a World Trade Organization decision allowing U.S. tariffs on European Union goods in retaliation for subsidies to airline maker Airbus is a "nice victory."

An Airbus 350 performs a demonstration flight at Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, northeast of Paris in June 2019

"The U.S. won a $7.5 Billion award from the World Trade Organization against the European Union, who has for many years treated the USA very badly on Trade due to Tariffs, Trade Barriers, and more," Trump wrote on Twitter.

The decision announced Wednesday gives the United States approval to impose tariffs on $7.5 billion worth of EU goods, which are due to begin Oct. 18. "For years, Europe has been providing massive subsidies to Airbus that have seriously injured the U.S. aerospace industry and our workers," U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said.

"Finally, after 15 years of litigation, the WTO has confirmed the United States is entitled to impose countermeasures in response to the EU's illegal subsidies." The WTO has also found the United States provided illegal subsidies to U.S.-based airline manufacturer Boeing. A ruling on what tariffs the European Union can impose against U.S. goods is expected next year.

Wednesday's decision is final and cannot be appealed. But the EU issued a statement from Brussels saying, "If the U.S. decides to impose WTO authorized countermeasures, it will be pushing the EU into a situation where we will have no other option than do the same."

The United States plans to impose a 10% tariff on European-built commercial aircraft and a 25% tariff on a wide range of European goods, including Scotch and Irish whiskies, clothes, tools and food. The United States brought the EU before the WTO in 2004, accusing Britain, France, Germany and Spain of giving illegal subsidies and grants to Airbus, making its commercial jets much cheaper on the global market than Airbus's chief rival Boeing.

The USTR says it plans to open talks with the EU "aimed at resolving this issue in a way that will benefit American workers."

Theo VOAnews