Biden and the European Union announce a truce in the dispute over Airbus and Boeing

The European Union and the United States announced a five-year truce on Tuesday in settling a long-running row over Airbus and Boeing that has been poisoning their relationship, in a sign of a thaw between the two sides after years of tension under Donald Trump.
European and US officials confirmed Tuesday that an agreement has been reached between the European Union and the United States to resolve their long-standing dispute over illegal subsidies granted to Airbus and Boeing for the airline industry.
"The meeting started with progress on aircraft," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said after US President Joe Biden arrived in Brussels for the first EU-US summit since 2017. We had decided together to resolve this dispute. Today we fulfilled our promise.”
"This agreement opens a new chapter in our relations because we are moving from disagreement to cooperation in the field of aviation after a 17-year conflict," she added.
US President Joe Biden said that the two sides agreed to suspend the punitive tariffs imposed in the context of this dispute, for a period of five years, praising an "important breakthrough."
"We agreed to work together to address China's non-commercial practices in the aviation sector that give Chinese companies an unfair advantage. It is a model we can count on to tackle other challenges posed by China's economic model."
The United States is trying to win the support of the European Union in its power struggle with China and wants to take advantage of this summit to calm relations between the two sides of the Atlantic, which were very tense during the era of Donald Trump.
Biden said earlier, "America is back. It is in the absolute interest of the United States to have a great relationship with NATO and the European Union," as she was received by von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel.
The agreement allows Biden on the eve of his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin to prove that "the United States and Europe hold together."
Since October 2004, the European Union and the United States have faced the World Trade Organization over public aid paid to the two groups of the aviation industry as illegal.
Under the Trump administration, Washington was allowed in October 2019 to impose duties on about $7.5 billion (€6.8 billion) in European goods and services imported each year, 25% on wine and spirits and 15% on Airbus.
In a similar decision a year later, the World Trade Organization allowed Brussels to tax products imported from the United States. Since then, the European Union has imposed tariffs on $4 billion in US exports.
French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire welcomed a "good agreement" and called for this file to be closed "permanently". For his part, French Foreign Trade Minister Franck Riester said, "It is excellent news for French and European companies."
"This was one of the oldest and most costly disputes in the history of the World Trade Organization, and both sides have shown that even the most complex differences can be addressed," the WTO Director-General said.
The Boeing Group praised the agreement, and an Airbus spokesman said in a statement to Agence France-Presse that this agreement "allows the creation of conditions for fair competition, as we have been calling for since the beginning of the dispute."
The Spanish Minister of Agriculture, Luis Planas, welcomed "the end of customs duties that were unfairly imposed on the Spanish food industries, especially olive oil, wine and cheese."
The news of the agreement also spread relief to French wine and spirits exporters.
In addition to the dispute over Airbus and Boeing, there are differences between the two parties over European steel and aluminum exports and the EU wants to settle this issue by December.
And von der Leyen announced the formation of a working group on this file and said, "I am confident that we will reach a solution."
European Council President Charles Michel said that the summit was "an important moment with first steps (...) We will continue to work in this spirit, fully aware that some issues will certainly be more difficult."
And Eric Morris of the Schumann Institute considered that Biden intends to "settle the dispute to focus on his priority, which is China."
In return, the Europeans will seek “to see what margin of maneuver they have within this alliance against Beijing. There is a consensus among them not to align completely for geopolitical reasons on the French side, and economic reasons on the German side.”
On the eve of his first summit with Vladimir Putin in Geneva, Biden left Brussels.
Von der Leyen stressed that European countries are "clearly united in their approach to their larger neighbor," noting that "the relationship between the European Union and Russia is currently going through a negative phase."


 

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