• The Financial District


The World Trade Organization (WTO) on Tuesday gave the European Union (EU) permission to impose tariffs on $4 billion worth of American products annually in retaliation for illegal subsidies given to US plane maker Boeing, a move that could result in levies on US airplanes, agricultural products and other goods, Ana Swanson and Niraj Choshi reported for the New York Times

The decision, which stems from a 16-year fight before the global trade body, follows a parallel case that the US brought against Europe over subsidies to its largest plane maker, Airbus. Last year, the Trump administration imposed tariffs on European planes, wine, cheese and other products after the WTO gave the US permission to retaliate on up to $7.5 billion of European exports annually. 

It remains to be seen whether the new tariffs will ultimately persuade the US and Europe to come to a negotiated settlement that would lift the levies, or merely inflame relations and result in higher costs on businesses and consumers on both sides of the Atlantic. The EU has repeatedly appealed to the US to remove its tariffs, but American officials say Europe has not taken the necessary actions to stop its Airbus subsidies. 

The tariffs will not go into effect immediately. The EU needs to request authorization from the WTO to impose the levies, which it can do at an Oct. 26 meeting at the earliest. The European Commission last year issued a preliminary list of American products that it could choose to tax, including aircraft, chemicals, citrus fruit, frozen fish and ketchup.

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