Spanish wine and olives will be among the European products targeted by stiff US tariffs set to take effect at midnight Thursday
Washington (AFP) - With US tariffs on a record $7.5 billion in European goods set to hit at midnight, Spain’s economy minister Nadia Calvino said Thursday she is hoping for a last-minute change of heart from Washington.
The tariffs, authorized by the World Trade Organization, are in retaliation for long-standing European government subsidies for Airbus, which the United States claims have harmed American aviation giant Boeing.
“We still have 24 hours to go. I really hope that the US decides finally to suspend the application of these tariffs,” she said
Spain is one of the European countries that will take the biggest hit, as a founding member of Airbus, along with France, Germany and Britain.
“Spain has a very strong view on this because the threat that has come from the US is very directly targeted against Spanish products,” Calvino said at an event on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund annual meetings.
She also called the retaliation against Spanish wine, olive oil and olives “detrimental US consumers who I’m sure are delighted to have access to these goods.”
Some European officials gathered in Washington are holding meetings with their American counterparts to try to find a way to avert the sanctions, including France’s Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire, who is due to meet with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday and with Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Friday.
EU countries will face US tariffs of 10 percent on aircraft and 25 percent on other goods, like cheeses, whiskey and olive oil, as well as some industrial products.
The ruling is the largest arbitration award in WTO history and a landmark moment in the longstanding Airbus-Boeing battle, which threatens to intensify already strained trade relations between the United States and the European Union.
Calvino called the dispute “lose-lose” but said the EU could go ahead with sanctions against the United States over subsidies for Boeing, previously approved by the WTO but not so far implemented.
“So we are very supportive of engaging in a constructive manner, finding a better way to deal with each other, a more constructive way to deal with each other,” she said.
“Threats and raising tariffs doesn’t seem to be a very wise solution for me.”