The US has said it will begin “a new process” with the EU in an effort to resolve a long-running trade dispute over plane makers Boeing and Airbus.
The row over subsidies paid to both companies has been dragging on for 16 years and is the longest in the history of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
In a statement yesterday (12 August), US trade representative Robert Lighthizer announced only minor changes to the list of European products covered by $7.5 billion worth of tariffs.
The tariffs were imposed last year after the WTO found against EU subsidies to Airbus and authorised US retaliation.
Last month, in an effort to settle that aspect of the row, France and Spain agreed to change the terms of a loan agreement made with Airbus for the development of the A350 aircraft.
“The EU and member states have not taken the actions necessary to come into compliance with WTO decisions,” Lighthizer said, but he added that the US was committed to obtaining a long-term resolution to the dispute.
WTO ruling awaited
The European Commission welcomed the news, saying that it acknowledged the US decision not to exacerbate the situation by increasing tariffs.
Trade commissioner Phil Hogan (pictured) had warned last month that if the US kept the tariffs, the EU would exercise its own rights to impose sanctions under another strand of the dispute.
The WTO last year decided that the US had not taken enough action on subsidies to Boeing to comply with the trade body’s rules. It is due to decide in the coming weeks on what measures the EU can take in retaliation.