WASHINGTON – The United States’ tariffs on products from the European Union worth $7.5 billion took effect right after midnight on Friday.
The US Trade Representative’s office confirmed that the new duties were entering into force at 12:01 am.
The tariffs were imposed in response to a ruling in early October by the World Trade Organization that sided with the US in a long-standing dispute over subsidies to European aerospace company Airbus, which the US claimed were illegal.
In its Oct. 2 ruling – which dealt a crushing blow to already-fragile US-EU trade relations – the WTO said that Washington could impose trade sanctions worth $7.5 billion annually on the EU.
The EU, which is waiting for the WTO to rule on a similar case on US subsidies to American aerospace company Boeing, has warned that it could slap similar tariffs on the .
The four most affected countries – as a bulk of the tariffs will be applied to their goods – are France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom as, according to the WTO ruling, they offered loans to Airbus at a lower interest rate than the market, which allowed the company to develop some of its most recent and advanced models.
Among the EU products subjected to an additional 25 percent ad valorem tariff are fresh cheese, olives and olive oil from Spain; wine and cheese from France; coffee, cookies and waffles from Germany; whisky and sweets from the UK and Italian cheese.
President Donald Trump boasted on Wednesday that the US could not lose a tariff war, as had been supposedly proven in the ongoing trade dispute with China, despite no evidence to that claim.
“We’re winning; in the case of the European Union, $7.5 billion. And Italy has a percentage of that to pay,” Trump said during a joint press conference with his Italian counterpart, Sergio Mattarella, at the White House.