US Imposes Tariffs to EU Worth $7.5 Billion

United States President Donald Trump imposed tariffs of 25 percent on agricultural products from the European Union in response to a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling worth US$7.5 billion dollars.

WTO presented this measure based on a complaint by the United States, which considers illegal the subsidies received by the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, at the beginning of October. Most affected countries are Germany, Spain, France, and the United Kingdom, although they also hit other European nations.

Products with additional import duties of 25 percent ad valorem include fresh cheese, olives and olive oil from Spain; wines and cheeses from France; coffee, cookies, waffles from Germany; whiskey and sweets from the United Kingdom, and Italian cheeses.

In the case of the Iberian products, several tax codes related to olive oil, both virgin and other varieties, and boneless or stuffed green olives stand out.

The Spanish government has estimated at US$841 million the economic impact of the increase in tariffs, although it has qualified that the amounts are not easy to specify and may vary because the tariff codes that the U.S. applies “are not the same” as those of Spain and the rest of the EU.

From Washington, Spanish Minister of Economy, Nadia Calviño, said that one of the tariffs “does not seem to be a very constructive way” and showed its interest in “avoiding this escalation of commercial tension.”

According to the WTO ruling that has motivated tariffs, the four most affected countries offered Airbus financing at a lower interest rate than the market, which allowed the company to develop some of its most recent and advanced models.

The EU, in turn, is waiting for the WTO to rule in a parallel case on U.S. aid to Boeing and has warned Washington that it will be forced to take similar countermeasures.