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Irish butter, cheese and pork among European goods hit with new US tariffs

Hundreds of EU products will be subjected to new 25% tariffs.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/Joerg Beuge

A RANGE OF goods from Ireland and the rest of the European Union are to be hit with new US tariffs.

The Irish products affected include cheese, liqueurs, cordials, pork, yogurt, butter, fruit and mussels.

The World Trade Organization has authorised the US to impose duties on $7.5 billion (about €6.8 million) worth of European goods after it decided that the EU failed to end subsidies for Airbus.

Hundreds of European products will be subjected to new 25% tariffs, which will take effect from 18 October.

“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,” US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said.

The WTO announcement culminates a 15-year fight over EU subsidies for Airbus.

EU aircraft will face a 10% import tax; other products on the list will be hit with 25% tariffs. The Trump administration insists it has the authority to increase the tariffs whenever it wants.

The latest escalation in the administration’s tariffs will open a new chapter in the trade wars that are depressing the world economy and heightening fears of a global recession.

It comes just as the administration is in the midst of trying to negotiate a resolution to its high-stakes trade war with China.

‘Big win’

US President Donald Trump called the WTO ruling a “big win for the United States” and asserted that it happened because WTO officials “want to make sure I’m happy”.

“The WTO has been much better to us since I’ve been president because they understand they can’t get away with what they’ve been getting away with for so many years, which is ripping off the United States,” Trump said at a joint White House news conference with President Sauli Niinisto of Finland yesterday.

Stock markets around the world, which were already down on concerns for the world economy, added to their losses on the news.

The announcement follows a WTO ruling in May 2018 that the EU had illegally helped Airbus with subsidies.

It does not, however, end the long-running trans-Atlantic dispute over aircraft. WTO arbitrators are expected to rule next year about how much the EU can impose in tariffs following a separate decision that went against Boeing.

The EU’s top trade official had said the bloc would prefer to reach a settlement with the United States to avoid a tariff war but that it will respond if Trump imposes new duties on EU products.

Contains reporting from AP 

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Órla Ryan

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