U.S. and EU call four-month truce in Boeing-Airbus tariff war

The 16-year-old transatlantic trade war which has focussed heavily on planemakers Boeing and Airbus may be coming to a close with what has been described as a goodwill gesture after American President Joe Biden and the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, agreed to suspend a range of existing tariffs between the two sides.

After the telephone call between the two on Friday March 5, von der Leyen said: “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 four months.” “We both committed to focus on resolving our aircraft disputes, based on the work of our respective trade representatives,” she added.

The hope is that during the four months a practical solution will be reached by setting joint rules on permissible aircraft subsidies. Experts feel that the timing is right to end this dispute as both aircraft manufacturers have been badly hit by the knock-on effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Airbus welcomed the decision to suspend tariffs, commenting that it supported “all necessary actions to create a level-playing field and continues to support a negotiated settlement of this longstanding dispute to avoid lose-lose tariffs”. Boeing said it hopes the deal would enable talks to “bring a level playing field to this industry”.

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