EU set to gain WTO clearance for US tariffs next week

BRUSSELS: The European Union should gain formal clearance next week to impose tariffs on $4 billion of annual U.S. imports in a dispute over aircraft subsidies, a World Trade Organization document showed on Monday.

The EU won the right to retaliation in its dispute with the United States over subsidies to planemaker Boeing this month, potentially deepening a record trade spat that has already prompted Washington to slap duties on EU goods.

Under WTO rules, the European Union needs to formally notify its plan to impose tariffs to the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB), a committee on which all 164 WTO members sit. According to the DSB agenda released on Monday, the EU plans to do so at the next meeting on Oct. 26.

This does not necessarily mean the bloc will impose tariffs immediately. The European Commission, which coordinates EU trade policy, also has to consult with the 27 EU governments on the issue.

The US government has said there was no legal basis for the EU to impose tariffs since the contested tax break had been eliminated, a view echoed by Boeing which has said it had already complied with WTO findings.

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to “strike back” against the European Union if it puts tariffs on U.S. goods.

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