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Five-year ceasefire on Airbus-Boeing trade dispute shows EU-US relationship is back with a progressive agenda


15 Jun 2021


Trade & Society

After 17 years, the European Union and the new US administration, today struck a five-year truce on the Airbus-Boeing trade dispute over subsidies to airplane makers. The deal removes the risk of retaliatory tariffs for five years, and sets out principles to avoid over-subsidisation of their rival aircraft giants.

The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament have been calling for not only repairing the EU-US trade relations, but building them back better than before by putting workers, wages, combatting the pandemic and a sustainable economic recovery at the heart of our progressive transatlantic trade agenda. Read more on the S&D progressive strategy for a reinforced transatlantic partnership.

Bernd Lange, S&D MEP, chair of Parliament’s trade committee and responsible for EU-US trade relations, said:

“Today’s deal on a five-year ceasefire on the Airbus-Boeing trade dispute is an encouraging sign that our partnership is back: we can look each other in the eye, discuss differences and tackle joint challenges together. While finding a permanent solution will take some more time, I strongly welcome the creation of platforms to find a final negotiated solution in the future. It’s also a relief for many sectors on both sides of the Atlantic that have suffered from retaliatory tariffs. Furthermore, I consider it a confidence-building step for future engagements. As a next step, I expect the US administration to now work towards rectifying Trump’s bad decisions of slapping unjustified and unlawful tariffs on steel and aluminium on the EU.

“With the election of Joe Biden as US President, not everything has changed, but a lot of things are better now. Our partnership is back on track. The outcome of the EU-US summit clearly reflects this. Apart from the Airbus-Boeing understanding, the most significant outcome of the summit is that we are constructively engaging again and we are establishing platforms to tackle joint challenges. In this regard, I particularly welcome the establishment of a Trade & Technology Council as well as several platforms to deal with climate change. Of particular importance is also the recognition that trade should benefit workers. While there’s still a long road ahead, we have fastened our seat belts and are ready for the ride.”

Kathleen Van Brempt, S&D MEP and spokesperson on trade, said:

“After 17 years, the EU and the US today finally buried the hatchet over the Airbus-Boeing trade dispute, opening a new chapter for EU-US trade cooperation. In the past few weeks, we have already seen some positive signs from the US side, such as their support for the new WTO Director General as well as the agreement reached on tariff rate quotas.

“We are confident that in the Biden administration we have found an ally to push for a progressive, multilateral trade agenda putting people and the planet first. Among our first tasks must be the urgent reform of the World Trade Organisation to empower it to meet the new challenges of the 21st century. This includes the reforming of the global trade court, but also the rules on state owned enterprises, industrial subsidies, as well as forced technology transfers, which are especially important for dealing with China.”



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