The European Commission (EUC) has published a list of US$20bn worth of US imports it could hit with tariffs, in an aircraft subsidy dispute that has dragged on for nearly 15 years.
The European Union’s competition watchdog released the 11-page list of US imports it could target, which include agricultural produce from dried fruit to ketchup, fish, tobacco, handbags and suitcases. The Commission also singled out hardware such as tractors, shovels, helicopters, planes as well as video game consoles.
The published list will now be open to consultation until 31 May and could then be revised.
The move by Brussels was in response to proposals last week by the Trump administration which targeted a seven-page list of EU products for tariffs, ranging from large aircraft to dairy products and wine.
The US said the proposed tariffs would counteract harm done by EU subsidies for Airbus worth an estimated US$11bn.
America and European Union have been battling at the World Trade Organisation over the subsidies given to US plane maker Boeing and its European rival Airbus, since October 2004.
Following partial victories on both sides, the countries are seeking WTO arbitration to determine the level of countermeasures each can impose on the other.
“The EU remains open for discussions with the US, provided these are without preconditions and aim at a fair outcome,” EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said in a statement.
In both cases, WTO arbitrators have yet to set an amount, but the US case against Airbus is further along and could see a possible ruling in June or July.
The EU case against Boeing could come early in 2020.
Both sides have said they would prefer a settlement that did not lead to the imposition of tariffs and earlier this week the EU said it was ready to start formal trade talks with the US.
The Commission plans to begin with two sets of negotiations – one to cut tariffs on industrial goods, and the other to make it easier for companies to show that their products meet EU or US standards.
But more room for tensions arose after the EU insisted that agriculture not be included in negotiations, something the US wants to be part of any talks.