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WTO Approves $7.5 Billion in US Tariffs on EU Goods

2019-10-3

United States President Donald Trump reacted to a World Trade Organization decision permitting tariffs on European Union goods calling it a "nice victory."

Trump wrote in a tweet, "The U.S. won a $7.5 Billion award from the World Trade Organization against the European Union, who has for many years treated the USA very badly on Trade due to Tariffs, Trade Barriers, and more."

A logo of Airbus is seen at the entrance of the Airbus A380 final assembly line site at Airbus headquarters in Blagnac, near Toulouse, France February 14, 2019. The WTO recently ruled in a case over government subsidies to Airbus. (REUTERS/Regis Duvignau)
A logo of Airbus is seen at the entrance of the Airbus A380 final assembly line site at Airbus headquarters in Blagnac, near Toulouse, France February 14, 2019. The WTO recently ruled in a case over government subsidies to Airbus. (REUTERS/Regis Duvignau)

The World Trade Organization (WTO) announced the decision Wednesday. The ruling gives the United States approval to place import taxes on up to $7.5 billion worth of EU goods. The measures are to go into effect on October 18.

The WTO case involved government support from Britain, France, Germany and Spain to aircraft manufacturer Airbus. The U.S. said that European countries had provided unfair subsidies to Airbus that were barred under existing trade agreements. The U.S. first requested discussions over the issue at the WTO in 2004. At the time, it said that the subsidies let Airbus sell civil aircraft at a lower price than U.S. competitor Boeing.

After the announcement, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said, "For years, Europe has been providing massive subsidies to Airbus that have seriously injured the U.S. aerospace industry and our workers."

The United States plans to impose a 10 percent tariff on European-built civil aircraft. It also will place a 25 percent tariff on a number of popular European products, including Scotch and Irish whiskies, clothes, tools and food.

The office of the U.S. Trade Representative said it plans to open talks with the EU "aimed at resolving this issue in a way that will benefit American workers."

The WTO also found that the U.S. provided barred subsidies to Boeing. A ruling on what tariffs the European Union might place on U.S. goods is expected next year.

The new import taxes add to tariffs that the EU and U.S. exchanged last year.

The EU has said it hopes the two sides can prevent new tariffs which, basically, tax importers. The importers then can have reduced profits, increase the price of the products they sell or find another supplier.

However, the European Commission’ spokesman, Daniel Rosario, warned the U.S. about adding tariffs in a statement Thursday. He said, "If the U.S. imposes countermeasures, it will be pushing the EU into a situation where we will have to do the same."

Wednesday's decision is final and cannot be appealed.

I’m Mario Ritter Jr.

Mario Ritter Jr. adapted this VOANews story for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

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Words in This Story

tariff –n. a tax on products imported to, or sometimes exported from, country

subsidy –n. money paid, usually, by a government to keep the price of a product or service low to help businesses

impose –v. to cause a tax or fine to affect a person or group

option –n. a choice that someone is able to make

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