The United States imposed tariffs on a record $7.5-billion worth of European Union goods on Friday, despite threats of retaliation, with Airbus, French wine and Scottish whiskies among the high-profile targets.
The tariffs, which took effect just after midnight in Washington, came after talks between European officials and US trade representatives failed to win a last-minute settlement.
EU has own Tariffs in mind
European officials struck a measured tone on Friday after the United States imposed new 10% and 25% tariffs on some European Union goods over aircraft subsidies, with a top German official warning against steps that could escalate the tensions.
EU trade chief Cecilia Malmstrom said the EU would respond with its own tariffs “in due course” when its own case against Boeing, is adjudicated in early 2020. Despite some initial suggestions it could do so, there was no move by Brussels to impose any immediate retaliatory tariffs against the United States under earlier WTO rulings.
They said the new U.S. tariffs on EU spirits and wines could result in the loss of 8,000 good-paying jobs across the U.S. beverage alcohol sector, from importers, distributors, wholesalers, to the hospitality sector. U.S.
President Donald Trump and other U.S. officials have recently downplayed tensions with Brussels, raising the prospect that they could once again delay threatened national security tariffs against European cars.
The Europeans have long advocated negotiation over conflict and they themselves will be able to impose tariffs next year to punish the United States for subsidising Boeing.
But EU officials had already offered in July to call a truce on subsidies for planemakers, in which both sides would admit fault and agree to curtail state aid, to no avail.
The two sides have been involved in a row over the subsidies for 15 years.
The tariffs kick in just days after the United States was given the formal go-ahead by the World Trade Organization. As recently as Wednesday, Trump singled out the Europeans for being unfair with the US on trade, but said his door was open to negotiate a settlement.