US encouraged by European signals over aircraft subsidies

Trade representative says resolving issue will be important for future of US-EU ties


Reuters May 06, 2021

WASHINGTON:

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said on Wednesday she was encouraged by her conversations with European officials about ending a 16-year dispute over aircraft subsidies, and both sides were serious about reaching an agreement.

Tai said Washington’s decision to suspend tariffs imposed as a result of World Trade Organisation (WTO) rulings – a move matched by the EU and Britain – reflected the “seriousness” of the drive to settle the longstanding row about government aid provided to US plane-maker Boeing and Europe’s Airbus.

“Our sense of motivation is being received across the Atlantic,” Tai told an online event hosted by the Financial Times. “I am getting signals back that there’s a serious motivation and intent on the other side. Let’s see what we’re able to accomplish.”

Tai said resolving the issue would be important for the future of ties between the United States and European Union, which are also at odds over tariffs on steel and aluminium.

Senior British and EU officials have recently expressed hope that the issue could be settled in coming months.

Liz Truss, Trade Minister of Britain which is party to the talks as a former EU member and maker of Airbus components, told Reuters she expects the trade dispute to be resolved by July when the freeze on tit-for-tat tariffs expires. The parties agreed in March to suspend retaliatory tariffs on a few goods for four months to give negotiations in the long-running row a chance.

Truss said the two sides were working on the details of a draft text of an agreement, with the negotiations focused on “subsidy disciplines” in the aerospace industry.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2021.

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