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US threatens new tariffs on EU goods worth $4 bn

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US threatens new tariffs on EU goods worth $4 bn
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Washington:  The US government has proposed punitive tariffs on EU goods worth $4 billion, intensifying its trade fight with the European Union over aircraft subsidies.

The US Trade Representative's Office (USTR) on Monday released a supplemental list of 89 tariff sub-categories which includes cheese, pork, pasta, fruits, coffee, whiskey and chemicals as well as metals, among others. The duties will be added to the tariffs on EU exports worth $21 billion announced in April.

The USTR claimed in a statement that it issued the supplemental list "in response to public comments and additional analysis", and to enforce US rights in the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute against the EU and its member states regarding EU subsidies on large civil aircraft, the US media reported.

The agency said that it would hold a hearing on the proposed additional tariffs on August 5 and will take into account the report of the WTO Arbitrator on the appropriate level of countermeasures to be authorized by the WTO.

Over 40 industry representatives, who mostly oppose the tariff measure, attended a public hearing of the initial list on May 15-16. The list involves some $21 billion in trade value, including aviation industry related-parts and consumer goods, Xinhua news agency reported.

Washington and Brussels have been locked in a long-running row over aircraft subsidies, accusing each other at the WTO of engaging in unfair practices. The WTO has found wrongdoing on both sides, with the US targeting Airbus and the EU against Boeing.

Airbus Chief Commercial Officer Christian Scherer had said in June that the US-proposed tariffs "defy economic logic" and will pass higher costs onto the consumer.

Washington's move is the latest in a series of trade clashes between US President Donald Trump's White House and the European Union. 

The Trump administration has already imposed tariffs on European steel and aluminum, to which EU authorities responded with tariffs on US goods worth more than $3 billion.

Trump has also threatened to slap tariffs of up to 25 per cent on cars coming into the US, a move that could hit European automotive powerhouses like Germany and France.

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