The EPP Group has called for an urgent debate during the upcoming plenary session regarding the US Government’s announcement to tax about €7 billion worth of European goods following the publication of the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) decision regarding the amount of US countermeasures in the Airbus state aid dispute.
Christophe Hansen MEP, EPP Group Spokesman in the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee, commented: “In addition to penalising the aircraft manufacturer Airbus, these levies would be catastrophic for thousands of European as well as American companies, whether they manufacture cheese, whisky or olive oil. Why should agri-food producers foot the bill for a conflict over aircraft subsidies? The EPP Group demands an urgent debate to emphasize that tit-for-tat actions harm companies on both sides of the Atlantic and that a negotiated settlement remains in the interest of all parties. In a dispute where both parties were found in breach of subsidies rules in their respective aircraft manufacturers, it stands to reason that there is a common solution”, he added, in reference to the pending Boeing case where the EU is equally expected to soon be awarded the right to impose countermeasures.
“Tit-for-tat trade sanctions can only result in a lose-lose situation for both the US and the EU”, explained Hansen. “I want to be clear: Europe’s hands remain extended to find a negotiated fair solution. This remains our priority, as it has been for the past few months. However, if on 18 October the US decides to trigger tariffs regardless, it will leave the EU no choice but to respond in kind. The EPP Group will back the European Commission in this process.”
He concluded: “I cannot help but notice a certain ambiguity in the attitude of the US administration towards WTO dispute settlement. Refusing on the one hand to nominate new members of the WTO Appellate Body – provoking a de facto paralysis of the dispute settlement system this coming December, while on the other hand touting the award of the right to impose countermeasures as a great victory. This ruling proves the efficiency of the WTO dispute settlement system, and coherence would dictate that the American Government adapts its position accordingly and acts constructively to save the capstone of the international trade order.”