The Office of US Trade Representative has suggested that Washington should impose additional tariffs on a number of goods imported from the European Union in response to the bloc's continued subsidies to aircraft manufacturer Airbus, which have been found damaging for the United States and inconsistent with the rules of the WTO.
For more than 14 years, Washington and Brussels have accused each other of unfairly subsidizing Boeing and Airbus, respectively, in a tit-for-tat dispute.
The US administration has drawn up an $11billion list of imports after the World Trade Organisation found European Union backing of Airbus "repeatedly caused adverse effects" to American aeroplane manufacturer Boeing.
The US trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, said that the case had been in litigation at the World Trade Organisation for 14 years and that "the time has come for action".
The statement added that the final amount it would seek in duties was subject to arbitration at the WTO, the result of which was expected in the summer. The EU called the US$11 billion sum cited by the USTR "greatly exaggerated" and said preparations were underway to hit back.
The list of products the United States will add tariffs on does not take into account Brexit as British products including Stilton cheese, woollen jumpers and kitchen knives. The list includes hundreds of products including helicopters, cheese, wine, butter, motorcycles, knives, clocks, cosmetics, binoculars, olive oil and fish.
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In a statement, Boeing said the company "supports the USA trade representative and his team in their ongoing efforts to level the playing field in the global aircraft marketplace".
Both aviation giants have scored points along the way. "Today, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) begins its process... to identify products of the European Union to which additional duties may be applied until the European Union removes those subsidies", the office said in a press release, published on its official website late on Monday.
The proposed tariffs come almost 15 years after the USA first complained to the WTO that Airbus had widely benefited from billions of dollars in illegal subsidies.
The move would mark an escalation in trade tensions between the U.S. and the EU. The EU has not been an exception.
While the size of the tariffs is small compared with the hundreds of billions the USA and China are taxing in their trade war, it suggests a breakdown in talks with the European Union over trade at a time when the economy is already slowing sharply.
The US plane maker said in a statement that it supports Washington's 'ongoing efforts to level the playing field in the global aircraft marketplace'.