US, EU to suspend $11.5B in tariffs for four months

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The U.S. and European Union have agreed to suspend tariffs relating to a long-standing trade dispute for four months, following a similar deal announced Thursday between the U.S. and U.K.

European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said she and President Biden struck the deal in a Friday phone call.

“As a symbol of this fresh start, President Biden and I agreed to suspend all our tariffs imposed in the context of the Airbus-Boeing disputes, both on aircraft and non-aircraft products, for an initial period of 4 months,” she said in a statement.

She called the move a “fresh start.”

The suspension will cover $11.5 billion-worth of traded goods, including $4 billion from EU tariffs on U.S. goods and $7.5 billion that former President Trump had imposed.

The four-month pause is meant to provide an opportunity for the trading partners to work out issues in a 17-year dispute on subsidizing aerospace competitors Boeing and Airbus.

“This will allow the EU and the US to ease the burden on their industries and workers and focus efforts towards resolving these long running disputes at the WTO,” the U.S. and E.U. said in a joint statement.

But other tariffs, such as those imposed in retaliation to Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs, are set to remain in place.

“This is great news and a promising break-through but we are extremely disappointed that tariffs on American Whiskey remain,” said Lisa Hawkins, senior Vice President of Public Affairs at the Distilled Spirits Council, an industry group.

“These tariffs on the U.S.’ largest spirits export will double on June 1 if the trade dispute over steel and aluminum is not also quickly addressed.”

The U.S.-EU deal follows the same contours as an agreement reached between the U.S. and U.K. earlier this week. Separate deals were necessary because of the U.K.’s departure from the EU at the start of the year.

Industry groups have pushed Biden to ease the trade wars waged by Trump, and lift the import taxes that were imposed as a means of pressuring trade partners.

Biden’s nominee for U.S. trade representative, Katherine Tai, who is expected to be confirmed by the Senate next week, said she would push to negotiate resolutions to the trade disputes but promised to focus on enforcement.

Updated 2:39 p.m.

Tags Donald Trump Joe Biden Katherine Tai Tariffs Trade deal
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