Monday, 22 April, 2019

U.S. proposes tariffs on $11bn of European Union products

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media on the South Lawn of the White House before boarding Marine One in Washington D.C. U.S US proposes tariffs on $11bn of EU products
Leonard Rios | 10 April, 2019, 05:11

European planemaker Airbus said on Tuesday it saw no legal basis for the United States' move towards imposing trade sanctions on its aircraft and warned of deepening trade tensions. "It will soon stop!"

"The interest of the United States as the interest of the European continent and France is to reach an amicable agreement", said French Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire.

The U.S. move, while following worldwide trade rules, appears to reflect broader U.S. frustration at the slow pace of talks on trade with the EU.

Investors are also keeping a close eye on a trade summit between the European Union and China on Tuesday in which the bloc will try to coax Beijing to open up its markets. Trump said on Twitter.

"The Administration is preparing to respond immediately when the WTO issues its finding on the value of US countermeasures".

The yen rose as traders favored the safe-haven currency in the wake of the U.S. proposal for tariffs on European goods.

At a White House meeting in January, German automakers, including Volkswagen, BMW, and Daimler, said they planned to invest more in the United States, dependent on whether the Trump administration imposes tariffs on them or not.

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April's equities rally risked running out of puff on Tuesday, as a USA threat to slap tariffs on hundreds of European goods and expectations of another chunky chop to the IMF's global growth forecasts tested investors' stamina.

The EU responded with tariffs on about 2.8 billion euros' worth ($3.4 billion) of US steel, agricultural and other products, from Harley Davidson bikes to orange juice.

The U.S. and EU have since July been negotiating how to scale back the tariffs, with Trump holding out the bigger threat of slapping tariffs on European cars - a huge industry in the region - should the negotiations not yield a result.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told lawmakers the Trump administration is preparing for the possibility of a "hard Brexit". "The EU is open to the USA offer for dialogue in order to reach a fair solution".

His tweet comes in response to a World Trade Organization ruling in May a year ago that the European Union had provided some illegal subsidies to Airbus, which is headquartered in Toulouse, France, and which has its largest North American manufacturing operation in Mobile.

Whether the USA gets the legal right to implement the new tariffs will depend on a ruling by the WTO, an organization based in Geneva that sets the rules for global commerce and settles disputes. In a separate case, the WTO has also ruled that Boeing got a small amount of illegal support from the state of Washington worth some $100 million a year.

The ongoing dispute over aircraft subsidies is occurring as Boeing is facing a weeks-long crisis over the worldwide grounding of its fleet of 737 Max aircraft while authorities investigate the cause of crashes of the jetliner in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed all 346 passengers and crew members aboard the two aircraft.

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