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U.S. moves ahead with tariffs on European Union goods

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Oct. 18 (UPI) — The United States imposed tariffs of 10 to 25 percent on a record $7.5 billion of European Union products Friday after the World Trade Organization ruled earlier this month to allow the economic sanctions.

Goods included in the tariffs range from airplane parts to cheese, meats, olive oil, fruit juice, jelly, seafood, wine and textiles. U.S. and EU negotiators failed to make headway in last-second discussions to head off the tariffs.

“There’s been some low-level discussions between our country and the European Union but I don’t think much progress has been made,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said.

The WTO on Monday confirmed an early decision by its arbitration panel that Airbus had received illegal subsidies from Britain, France, Germany and Spain in the past. The organization agreed that the U.S. could impose punitive taxes against certain European products because of it.

“We have won a $7.5 billion award from, as you know — I guess it’s been pretty big news,” President Donald Trump said Wednesday in a news conference with Italian President Sergio Mattarella.

“And I know that this is against the European Union and World Trade — good ole World Trade. For a long time, they’ve been taking advantage of the United States,” Trump continued.

France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire is expected to meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer Friday, threatening countermeasures to the new tariffs.

He said a settlement in the WTO case “would be the best-case scenario for both continents. But if the U.S. administration refuses to go this way, Europe is ready to retaliate, in the framework, of course, of the WTO.”

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