Monday 14 October 2019 4:03 pm

WTO gives green light for US to impose tariffs on $7.5bn EU imports

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has formally given the nod to the US to impose tariffs on up to $7.5bn of imports of EU goods, after an arbitrator’s decision over subsidies to plane maker Airbus.

The WTO’s dispute resolution body, made up of delegates from its 164 members, cleared Washington to hit back against the EU and Airbus-producing countries Britain, France, Germany and Spain.

The decision was a formality, after the arbitrator made its mind up earlier this month.

It would only have been denied had all WTO members voted against it.

Trade ambassador from Washington Dennis Shea said the US still preferred a negotiated solution.

“But that can only happen if the EU genuinely terminates the benefits to Airbus from current subsidies and ensures that subsidies to Airbus cannot be revived under another name or another mechanism,” he told the meeting.

The EU delegation told the meeting that it had “serious concerns” and that U.S. tariff measures were short-sighted.

The WTO has found that both Airbus and its US rival Boeing received billions of dollars of illegal subsidies in a pair of cases that have run for 15 years.

An adjudication in the Boeing case is expected early in 2020.