US-EU trade relations

Spanish cheese, wine and oil to be subject to new US tariffs

Spain will be one of the most affected countries in the wake of a World Trade Organization ruling over illegal aid for aerospace corporation Airbus

The main body of an A-320 aircraft in a factory in Hamburg, Germany.
The main body of an A-320 aircraft in a factory in Hamburg, Germany.AFP

Spanish cheese, wine, olive oil and pork products will be affected by the United States government’s decision to introduce new duties on certain European Union exports starting on October 18.

The move comes after the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled that the US can impose annual tariffs on as much as $7.5 billion worth of European exports in retaliation for illegal government subsidies to aircraft maker Airbus. The largest award in WTO history follows 15 years of litigation.

US Office of the Trade Representative

A list provided by the US Office of the Trade Representative (USTR) shows that “the bulk of the tariffs are being applied to imports from France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom – the four countries responsible for the illegal subsidies,” according to a USTR press release.

The USTR said that the tariff increases will be limited to 10% on large civil aircraft and 25% on agricultural and other products, but warned that “the US has the authority to increase the tariffs at any time, or change the products affected.”

Listed products include yogurt, butter, cherries and peaches from many EU member states. Other items subject to new import duties are fresh cheese, virgin olive oil, wine and pork cuts, which particularly affect Spain.

France was the first country to warn that it will take steps if the US makes the new duties effective. “Evidently, we are foreseeing retaliation measures,” said French government spokesperson Sibeth Ndiaye. The dispute could potentially trigger a tariff war between the EU and the US, although the White House has left the door open to negotiations.

The dispute stems from the fact that France, Germany, Spain and Britain offered Airbus subsidies for the development of some of its most recent and advanced models, such as the A350 and A380.

English version by Susana Urra.