The Trump administration has imposed a new tariff of 25% on pork products from the EU as the trade dispute between the US and EU escalates.
The tariffs, which it is reported could come into force from October 18, will cover a range of pork products and other goods shipped from the EU – worth around £6bn in total – including Scotch whisky, cheese and other dairy products, fruit, seafood, wine and clothing.
The tariffs have been imposed in retaliation for subsidies given to the aerospace group Airbus. The announcement follows a WTO ruling stating that the US can be authorised to apply tariffs worth $7.497 billion annually on the UK, France, Germany, Spain (‘the Airbus nations’) and the wider EU.
In the first seven months of this year, the UK exported 6,768 tonnes of pork to the US, our second largest no-EU destination behind China (38,619t). While the volumes are significantly lower than the Chinese export volumes, the US is an important market for high value pork cuts, with Karro the biggest player in this market.
The US has also imposed a 10% levy on EU-made airplanes that could hurt US airlines that have ordered billions of dollars of Airbus aircraft.
The Department for International Trade said: “The UK government is clear that resorting to tariffs is not in the interests of the UK, EU or US. We are working closely with the US, EU and European partners to support a negotiated settlement to the Airbus and Boeing disputes.
“We are also seeking confirmation from the WTO that the UK has complied fully with WTO rulings regarding support to Airbus, and should not be subject to tariffs.”
The tariffs, another chapter on the growing global trade tensions, will add unwelcome costs to the trade.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said: “For years, Europe has been providing massive subsidies to Airbus that have seriously injured the US aerospace industry and our workers. Finally, after 15 years of litigation, the WTO has confirmed that the United States is entitled to impose countermeasures in response to the EU’s illegal subsidies.
“Accordingly, the United States will begin applying WTO-approved tariffs on certain EU goods beginning October 18. We expect to enter into negotiations with the European Union aimed at resolving this issue in a way that will benefit American workers.”
The EU said on Wednesday it would retaliate if the US imposed tariffs. Cecilia Malmström, the EU commissioner for trade, issued a statement saying the EU had shared proposals on settling the dispute in July.
She said: “Our readiness to find a fair settlement remains unchanged. But if the US decides to impose WTO-authorised countermeasures, it will be pushing the EU into a situation where we will have no other option than to do the same.”