A longstanding trade dispute between the U.S. and EU predates Donald Trump’s presidency — but he’ll be more than happy to roll out another round of tariffs in response, Politico reports. That’s the upshot of European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström’s warning to EU countries, who face tariffs on a wide range of products as the U.S. threatens to escalate a trade tiff originally based on Europe’s unfair subsidies to Airbus, the continent’s aviation champion. Unusually for Trump, however, these tariffs would comply with WTO rules because the U.S. complaints are recognized as valid.
- According to Malmström, the U.S. rejected European overtures to negotiate a deal over the government subsidies to Airbus, setting the stage for up to $21 billion in U.S. tariffs on European goods. Good affected could include not just industrial but high-end agricultural products including wine, cheese, and olive oil.
- The Europeans have their own trade complains, however, alleging that U.S. aviation giant Boeing also receives unfair government subsidies. However the U.S. case against Airbus is further along in the adjudication process than the EU case against Boeing.
- While the U.S. claims that it tried to resolve the Airbus dispute through negotiation, according to Politico European officials dismiss that claim, saying the Americans have taken an approach of “hit first, talk later.”
- The next round of tariffs, if they are enacted, would add to an already fraught transatlantic atmosphere, with tensions running high over the Trump administration’s previous tariffs on steel and aluminum, and threats to levy tariffs on European carmakers.