The World Trade Organization (WTO) this Tuesday authorized the European Union (EU) to impose tariffs on products from the United States with an annual ceiling value of $ 3.993 billion, about € 2.9 billion at the current exchange rate, as compensation for subsidies received by Boeing between September 2012 and September 2015 and which have led to significant losses for companies such as Airbus.
“The level of countermeasures, commensurate with the degree and nature of the adverse effects which are determined to exist, amounts to $ 3,993,212,564 per year, “says the statement with the decision, which adds that the US has failed” to demonstrate that the European Union has not followed the principles and procedures established in paragraph 3 of Article 22 of the DSU, “the arbitration mechanism,” by determining that it is not feasible or effective to suspend concessions or other obligations in the trade of goods and that the circumstances are serious enough “.
The lawsuit between Brussels and Washington, Boeing and Airbus, goes a long way. Both blocks have given important aid to large manufacturers, directly and indirectly since the beginning of the 90s of the last century. For three decades there were no problems, but in 2004 there was a schism and they have not been able to bury the hatchet since then. In the years covered by the opinion, Airbus lost three major aircraft sales and came under heavy lockdown pressure to the importation of its aircraft to the US market and to that of some allies. Brussels had asked for more than $ 8 billion a year in compensation, and Washington estimated that a more realistic figure would be $ 400 million a year. The panel has opted for something midway.
“The EU will immediately talk to the US again in a positive and constructive way to decide the next steps. Our clear preference is a negotiated settlement. If it cannot be, we will be forced to defend our interests and respond in a proportionate manner “, he has warned the community vice president and head of the Commerce portfolio, Valdis Dombrovskis. “We are still, as we have shown so far, ready and willing to start a negotiation process to reach a fair agreement, “Guillaume Faury, the CEO of Airbus, explained in a statement collected by Efe.
Last year own WTO authorized the United States to impose tariffs for a total value of 7.5 billion dollars (about 6,400 million euros) to products imported from Europe in retaliation for the aid to Airbus. But this war is leaving many blind and no winner. The problem is not just the concrete dispute, but the long-term confrontation over all kinds of trade issues between Washington and Europe, as well as China. And that they are in fact leading to a major crisis in the WTO itself.
There is a low intensity trade war with rocking waves. Both blocks target highly selected strategic sectors, trying to break the will. In Brussels that has generated certain quarrels, because not all partners have been equally hit. Airbus and the Commission, backed by the 27, want to settle legal disputes in the offices, not the courts, but they maintain a reasonably high tone.
The French Economy and Trade ministers said it, it was said from Berlin or from Madrid. “Following the WTO decision to agree with Europe, the Commission invites the United States to negotiate, and if this is not possible, Europe will take measures to defend the interests of European exporters, including the Spanish affected by the sanctions, “said the Spanish Foreign Minister, Arancha Gonzalez Laya, who spent a good part of his career precisely within the WTO and who understands like few others the importance of open trade.