WTO says EU can put tariffs on $4 billion of US goods

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GENEVA (AP) — International arbitrators said Tuesday that the European Union can impose tariffs and other penalties on up to $4 billion worth of U.S. goods and services over illegal American support for plane maker Boeing. The move further sours transatlantic ties at a time when the coronavirus has doused trade and savaged economies.

The ruling by the World Trade Organization arbitrators, which could inflame Trump administration criticism of the Geneva-based body, amounts to one of the largest penalties handed down by the WTO.

It comes a year after another ruling authorized the United States to slap penalties on EU goods worth up to $7.5 billion – including Gouda cheese, single-malt whiskey and French wine – over the bloc’s support for Boeing rival Airbus.

Now the EU can have its own turn at trade punishment, and has already been considering which American products it could target. A preliminary list that the bloc has released suggests it could go after a wide range of products including frozen fish and shellfish, dried fruit, tobacco, rum and vodka, handbags, motorcycle parts and tractors.


In the past in trade disputes, the EU has sought to roughly match products affected by previous American sanctions — such as by hitting U.S. distillers if French wines were targeted. The bloc could aim for areas where Boeing planes or parts are made.

The latest WTO decision is final, cannot be appealed, and puts the final word on a standoff dating back to 2006. It is just one part of a string of long-running disputes between the two plane-making giants at the WTO. And it sets the stage for what could become intense negotiation between the EU and U.S. to end what could become tit-for-tat transatlantic sanctions.

The arbitrators were tasked with setting a dollar value in sanctions such