Airbus offers to remove subsidies and end US tariffsBy Melita Kiely
Plane manufacturer Airbus has agreed to increase loan repayments to France and Spain in a “final step” to settle a 16-year dispute between the States and the EU over aircraft subsidies and end US tariffs.
On Friday, Airbus released a statement explaining that it hoped the move to raise interest rates paid by Airbus on A350 aircraft development loans would solve the long-running dispute at the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The US has long argued that the subsidies for Airbus disadvantaged competitor plane company Boeing.
Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO, said: “We have fully complied with all the WTO requirements. These additional amendments to the A350 RLIs demonstrate that Airbus has left no stone unturned to find a way towards a solution.
“This is a clear signal of support to those who are suffering from the severe impact of the tariffs imposed by the USTR [United States Trade Representative], especially at a time when industries are hard hit by the consequences of the Covid-19 crisis.”
As a result of the ongoing dispute, the US introduced a 25% import tariff on several EU goods in October last year, including single malt Scotch whisky, single malt Irish whiskey and liqueurs made in the EU.
Several trade bodies have been urging the removal of the tariffs, including the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA). Exports of Scotch whisky to the US have declined by more than 30% since the tariffs were introduced, according to the SWA.
The USTR is also considering tariffs on additional products as a result of the ongoing spat, including vodka and gin made in the UK.
The announcement from Airbus and its potential to mitigate tariffs was welcomed by the Distilled Spirits Council of the US (Discus).
A statement from Discus said: “US distillers welcome today’s announcement regarding Airbus. We hope that this is a significant step toward resolving this longstanding trade dispute that will result in the prompt elimination of tariffs on US and EU distilled spirits. Distillers on both sides of the Atlantic have suffered enough.”