EU Targets US Goods With Retaliatory Sanctions

The EU has unveiled a wide-ranging list of US imports worth $20 billion which it could target in retaliation for a subsidy battle between rival European and American planemakers, Airbus and Boeing.

The European Commission launched consultations on Wednesday as it issued the 11-page document listing US goods being considered for additional import duties.

The long list covers a considerable amount of agricultural products, including fruits, coffee and tobacco, and extends to other spheres such as aviation. The possible levies may hit various items ranging from ketchup, vodka, chocolate and lobsters to video-game consoles, bicycle pedals, tractors, shovels and handbags.

A discussion on the proposed list is open until May 31 and the commission said it is up to the World Trade Organization (WTO) arbitrator to determine the exact level of countermeasures.

“European companies must be able to compete on fair and equal terms,” EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said in a statement. “We must continue to defend a level-playing field for our industry.”

The official added that the retaliatory measures are on the agenda so that the EU is ready “in case there is no other way out,” but stressed that the bloc still does not want to be embroiled in “tit-for-tat” measures and hopes that dialogue will prevail.