US cuts punitive taxes from 10% to 15%


An Airbus plane at Le Bourget, in 2015. – Francois Mori / AP / SIPA

US to raise customs taxes on airplanes
Airbus imported from Europe. As of March 18, they will increase to 15% according to the American trade representative (USTR). These taxes have been 10% since last October, when the US government decided to hit $ 7.5 billion in European products from punitive tariffs.

Originally, Washington had taken this action in retaliation for subsidies received by the European aircraft manufacturer, deemed undue by the World Trade Organization (WTO). Other products, including wine, cheese, coffee and olives,
are taxed at 25%.

For Trump, a negotiating instrument

In Europe and the United States, the different sectors concerned hold their breath with each new decision, in the hope that their category will be removed from the list, and in fear that the tariffs will be increased. In October, Delta Air Lines, a US company customer of Airbus, deplored the sanctions, saying that the tariffs would cause “serious harm to American airlines, to the millions of Americans they employ and to travelers.”

But US President Donald Trump also uses these taxes as a negotiating tool. After months of trade war with China, with reciprocal punitive tariffs, he exclaimed “our strategy has paid off! When the two countries signed an agreement in mid-January.

Stalled negotiations

His attention is now focused on Europe. Donald Trump and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, indeed announced at the end of January, after a meeting in Davos (Switzerland), their desire to relaunch the transatlantic trade site and to conclude an agreement in the coming weeks. But for now, negotiations have been unsuccessful and relations remain strained as the White House host still brandishes the threat of taxing imports of European cars, which particularly shakes German manufacturers.

On Monday, he said it was time to “very seriously” negotiate a trade deal with the European Union. He wants EU member states to open up their markets more to American products, especially agricultural products.

Recently, his administration has threatened to overtax “up to 100%” the equivalent of $ 2.4 billion in French products. Something to thrill winemakers, but also American importers of French wine, who, in a letter to the USTR estimated from 11,200 to 78,600 job losses in the United States if these threats were carried out.

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