US, UK suspend retaliatory tariffs for four months

The U.S. and United Kingdom have agreed to suspend some retaliatory tariffs regarding a long-standing Boeing and Airbus dispute for four months, effective Thursday.

“This will allow time to focus on negotiating a balanced settlement to the disputes, and begin seriously addressing the challenges posed by new entrants to the civil aviation market from non-market economies, such as China,” the nations said in a joint statement.

The move is among the first major actions the Biden administration has taken to ease the aggressive trade wars President Trump pursued in office.

It will lift tariffs on a variety of foods and spirits, including Scotch whisky, imposed as punishment by the countries over subsidies to their major aerospace manufacturers.

The tariffs suspension will not include the European Union, which the U.K. left in January, and tariffs on U.S. whiskey related to a separate trade dispute will remain in place.

“While we welcome the U.S. decision to suspend the retaliatory tariffs on UK distilled spirits for four months, we are greatly disappointed that the UK’s debilitating tariff on American Whiskey remains in place,” the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States said in a statement.

“American Whiskey exports to the UK, our fourth largest market, have declined by 53 percent, from $150 [million] to $71 million since the imposition of tariffs,” the group added.

Boeing praised the move.

“We commend this action by the U.S. government to create a window for serious negotiations to resolve the WTO aircraft dispute,” the company said. 

“A negotiated settlement will allow the U.S. industry—and its world class workers—to compete on a genuinely level playing field.”

Katherine Tai, President Biden’s pick for U.S. trade representative, said in confirmation hearings that she would seek negotiated solutions to the trade disputes that have resulted in significant tariffs.

The Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved Tai’s nomination on Wednesday. She is expected to be confirmed next week.

Updated at 10:25 a.m.

Tags Airbus Boeing Donald Trump Exports Great Britain Imports Joe Biden Katherine Tai scotch whiskey Tariffs Trade trade disputes Trade wars U.K. United Kingdom
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