Statement on the WTO decision on the Airbus dispute

Date:

(Brussels, 3 October 2019) Following the WTO arbitrator’s decision in the Airbus subsidy dispute [1] on 2 October 2019, the US administration has announced the introduction of retaliatory tariffs on a wide range of EU products to recover damages of up to USD $7.5 billion annually.

FoodDrinkEurope, representing Europe’s food and drink industry, deeply regrets that the US’ list of EU goods [2] to face counter measures includes a wide range of food and drink products which will be subject to retaliatory tariffs of 25%. This alarming decision will severely impede access for European food and drinks to the US market, currently the industry’s first foreign destination with a value of exports exceeding €20 billion in 2018. 

There are serious concerns about the collateral damage that the WTO civil aircraft disputes will have on our well-established EU-US food and drink industry relations. Europe’s food and drink manufacturers, 99% of which are small and medium-sized enterprises, could end up paying the price for a dispute originating in a completely unrelated sector. Not only will this be detrimental to the food industry itself, but it would also have hugely negative broader  implications for supply chains, workers and consumers in the EU and in the US. 

Speaking in response to the announcement, Mella Frewen, Director General of FoodDrinkEurope, said: “We urge the EU and US to engage in a constructive dialogue to swiftly resolve the aircraft disputes and to avoid further escalation of trade tensions. All efforts should focus on a positive trade agenda which aims to strengthen our long-standing transatlantic trade relations.”

 

[1] https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news19_e/316arb_e.htm

[2] https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/enforcement/301Investigations/EU_Large_Civil_Aircraft_Final_Product_List.pdf

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