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US threatens new EU tariffs on Scotch, pasta, and Italian cheese

Oscar Williams-Grut
Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK

The US is threatening new tariffs on $4bn-worth of EU imports as part of a long-running dispute over aircraft manufacturing.

On Monday evening, the US Trade Representatives Office (USTR) proposed adding 89 new items to a list of proposed tariffs on EU imports. The new items come in addition to a proposal in April for tariffs on $21bn-worth of EU goods.

New items the US has suggested taxing include:

  • Margarine and butter spreads

  • Cheeses including edam, gruyere, gouda, parmesan, provolone, romano, and reggiano

  • Olives

  • Coffee

  • Frozen and fresh fruit

  • Pork sausages, hams, and other cuts of meat

  • Pasta

  • Waffles

  • Whiskey, including, but not exclusively, Irish and Scotch

  • A range of metal products and metals

Italian pasta and cheese are caught up in the tariffs. Photo: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters

The proposals are “countermeasures in response to harm caused by EU aircraft subsidies,” the USTR said in a statement.

The US has repeatedly attacked the EU for supposedly unfair subsidies given to Airbus, the France aerospace giant. The Trump administration believes the support has damaged US competitor Boeing.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has ruled in the past that Boeing and Airbus, the world’s two biggest plane makers, received billions in unfair subsidies from the US and EU, respectively.

The WTO is due to make a ruling later this year on the extent of the unfair subsidies given to Airbus, which could pave the way for the US to levy the threatened tariffs.

“This case has been in litigation for 14 years, and the time has come for action. The Administration is preparing to respond immediately when the WTO issues its finding on the value of US countermeasures,” US trade representative Robert Lighthizer said in April.

The US and EU have made little progress negotiating a trade deal since US President Donald Trump met with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker last summer and agreed to negotiate a pact.

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Oscar Williams-Grut covers banking, fintech, and finance for Yahoo Finance UK. Follow him on Twitter at @OscarWGrut.

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