After 17 years of dispute, the United States and the European Union are making a truce to resolve their old disagreement over illegal subsidies granted to Airbus and Boeing. The two parties agreed on Tuesday (June 15) to suspend for five years the punitive customs duties they are inflicting on themselves in the context of this dispute.
“The meeting started with a breakthrough on planes (…). We jointly decided to resolve this dispute. Today we have kept our promise”, declared the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, after the arrival of US President Joe Biden in Brussels for an EU / US summit. “This agreement opens a new chapter in our relationship as we are moving from litigation to cooperation on aeronautics, after 17 years of dispute”, rejoiced Mrs von der Leyen.
The French Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire immediately welcomed a “good agreement” and called for “definitively concluding” this dossier in a statement sent to AFP. This is “excellent news for French and European companies” and the French Minister of Foreign Trade Franck Riester.
Washington and Brussels have been opposed since 2004 before the World Trade Organization (WTO) on illegal public aid paid to their two aircraft manufacturers. However, under the Trump administration, Washington was authorized in October 2019 to impose taxes on nearly 7.5 billion dollars (6.8 billion euros) of European goods and services imported each year, up to 25% for wines and spirits and 15% for Airbus aircraft. The WTO had allowed Brussels to put in place taxes on products imported from the United States. The EU has since imposed tariffs on $ 4 billion of US exports.
This agreement illustrates the will of the two historic partners to move forward to relaunch the transatlantic partnership. On the eve of his summit with Vladimir Poutine, a significant asset to allow Joe Biden to show “that the United States and Europe are united”, as the American President had wished before he visited Europe.