EU “regretably” introduces new tariffs on US goods – but most seafood is exempt

The European Union has imposed countermeasures against many exports from the United States that it was awarded by the World Trade Organization (WTO) in lieu of illegal U.S. subsidies granted to aircraft-maker Boeing.

With the countermeasures agreed by E.U. member-states, the European Commission's regulation increasing tariffs on U.S. exports into the E.U. worth USD 4 billion (EUR 3.4 billion) will be published in the Official Journal of the E.U.

The commission’s preliminary list had covered a range of U.S. goods, including some 42 different U.S. seafood products. Additional tariffs of 15 percent have now been placed on aircraft, alongside additional tariffs of 25 percent on a range of agricultural and industrial products imported from the states.

However, the final published list includes just four seafood items: frozen Atlantic salmon, frozen Pacific salmon fillets, smoked Pacific salmon, and scallops. Therefore, items like frozen albacore and yellowfin tuna, frozen cod and Alaska pollock, frozen and live lobster, frozen coldwater shrimp, and squid won’t face additional tariffs.

While WTO formally authorized the E.U. on 26 October to take countermeasures, the commission said that it “stands ready” to work with the U.S. to settle this dispute and also to agree on long-term disciplines on aircraft subsidies.

“We have made clear all along that we want to settle this long-running issue. Regrettably, due to lack of progress with the U.S., we had no other choice but to impose these countermeasures. The E.U. is consequently exercising its legal rights under the WTO's recent decision,” E.U. Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis said in a statement. “We call on the U.S. to agree to both sides dropping existing countermeasures with immediate effect, so we can quickly put this behind us. Removing these tariffs is a win-win for both sides, especially with the pandemic wreaking havoc on our economies. We now have an opportunity to reboot our transatlantic cooperation and work together towards our shared goals.” 

In October last year, following a similar WTO decision in a parallel case on Airbus subsidies, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump imposed retaliatory duties on certain E.U. exports worth USD 7.5 billion (EUR 6.3 billion). These duties are still in place, despite steps taken by E.U. member-states to ensure they are in full compliance with WTO rules.

Photo courtesy of Alexandros Michailidis/Shutterstock


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