US proposes tariffs on European Union goods, seafood products considered

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Monday, 8 April, it will consider adding new tariffs on products from the European Union, and seafood imports are on the list for potential duties.

The action stems from a World Trade Organization ruling that stated E.U. illegally subsidized airplane-maker Airbus, creating an unfair trade advantage. As a result of that ruling, the U.S. is contemplating tariffs on USD 11 billion (EUR 9.76 billion) in goods from the 28 member nations in the union.

“The E.U. has taken advantage of the U.S. on trade for many years,” President Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning. “It will soon stop!”

The announcement from Office of the U.S. Trade Representative gives a list of nine products from four E.U. members. The products include helicopters, aircraft, fuselages, and associated parts originating from France, Germany, Spain, and Great Britain.

However, a second list of products the Trade Representative is considering includes products from all member nations. The products include salmon fillets, swordfish steaks, crabmeat, clams, scallops, and other seafood items.

“This case has been in litigation for 14 years, and the time has come for action. The administration is preparing to respond immediately when the WTO issues its finding on the value of U.S. countermeasures,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement.  “Our ultimate goal is to reach an agreement with the E.U. to end all WTO-inconsistent subsidies to large civil aircraft.  When the E.U. ends these harmful subsidies, the additional U.S. duties imposed in response can be lifted.”

A representative from the European Union called the U.S. plan over the top, according to the BBC. Further, the E.U. may counter with its own proposed tariffs on American goods, considering the WTO recently ruled U.S. subsidies to Boeing have hurt Airbus.

The Trade Representative will hold a hearing on the proposal on 15 May in Washington. Those who wish to speak at the hearing need to submit their request by 6 May.

Written comments, including rebuttal testimony, is due on 28 May.


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