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USTR Responds to UK Statement on WTO Large Civil Aircraft Dispute

December 09, 2020

On December 8, the United Kingdom (UK) announced that it would not continue tariffs imposed by the European Union (EU) on imports from the United States starting January 1, 2021 in order to de-escalate the large civil aircraft conflict and come to a negotiated solution.  The United States welcomes this decision and shares the UK’s objective of reaching a negotiated resolution.

The United States does not agree, however, that the UK would have any authority to impose tariffs.  Only the EU sued the United States at the WTO; the UK did not bring a case in its individual capacity.  Therefore, the UK has no authority from the WTO to participate in any such action after it no longer is part of the EU.  By contrast, the United States sued the EU as well as France, Germany, Spain, and the UK individually over massive subsidies to Airbus.  As a result, the WTO authorized the United States to impose countermeasures on each of those countries and the entire EU.  

The United States has, however, exercised great restraint with its retaliatory tariffs.  Like the UK, the United States considers that a negotiated settlement best serves the interests of all parties.  In that regard, the United States encourages the UK to bring renewed focus to settlement discussions.