Nuts, ketchup & bicycle pedals: European Union targets United States goods with retaliatory sanctions

A bottle of ketchup is seen in this file

A bottle of ketchup is seen in this file

Trade tensions between the USA and EU have run high since President Donald Trump slapped tariffs on European steel and aluminum imports previous year.

And it comes after the European Union approved plans in April for trade talks with the USA created to reduce trade barriers.

"European companies must be able to compete on fair and equal terms", she said.

In late March, the WTO appellate body confirmed that the USA failed to comply with the organization's rules on subsidies and "continued unabatedly its illegal support of its aircraft manufacturer Boeing to the detriment of Airbus", according to the European Commission.

"The EU has taken advantage of the U.S. on trade for many years".

But this proposal - like the corresponding USA plan for action against the European Union over subsidies to Airbus - is consistent with the established rules of the World Trade Organization.

Those actions led to genuine concerns that the rules-based system for managing global trade may be facing serious threats.

The European Union published its preliminary list of US goods being targeted in a $12 billion plan for retaliatory tariffs over subsidies to Boeing Co., with a focus on farm products from areas that help form President Donald Trump's political base.

After partial victories for both sides, each is asking a WTO arbitrator to determine the level of countermeasures they can impose on the other.

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The move is in retaliation in a long-running battle between the United States and EU around European aircraft subsidies, in which the World Trade Organisation (WTO) said that the subsidies have an adverse impact on the US.

The US imports that are likely to face new duties include planes, helicopters, tractors, as well as fish, tobacco and video game consoles.

According to the EC, the preliminary tariffs (see the list of seafood products below) are subject to public consultation, which will last until May 31, 2019.

The EU list was made public after the WTO's dispute body confirmed on April 11 that the USA had not taken appropriate action to comply with subsidy rules. The EU, in turn, stated on Tuesday that it will release on Wednesday a list of products that might face new duties over USA state subsidies to aircraft manufacturing giant Boeing. "The EU remains open for discussions with the US, provided these are without preconditions and aim at a fair outcome".

Both sides have said they would prefer a settlement that did not lead to tariffs being imposed.

"The European Commission has today launched a public consultation on a preliminary list of products from the United States on which the European Union may take countermeasures in the context of the ongoing Boeing dispute at the... WTO..."

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.

However, it has insisted that agriculture not be included, putting the 28-country bloc at odds with Washington, which wants farm products to be part of the talks.

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