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NABI Urges a 180-Day Truce in the Airbus-Boeing Trade War

Updated: Dec 22, 2020

NABI Press Release – October 13, 2020

Opportunity for USTR and EU Trade Commissioner to Negotiate without Sword of Damocles of Tariffs

“Now that the battle lines are drawn and the strength of each other’s armaments is known,” said

Robert M. Tobiassen, President, National Association of Beverage Importers, “NABI urges the

United States Trade Representative (USTR) and the Trade Commissioner of the European Union

to agree to a 180-day truce for real settlement negotiations to move forward and conclude


Today, the World Trade Organization (WTO) made public the Arbitrator Report in the Boeing

dispute which authorizes the European Union (EU) to impose retaliatory tariffs on United States

(U.S.) goods exported to the EU covering nearly $4 billion in volume of trade value. As to be

expected both USTR and the European Commission issued press releases that reveal both tough

and firm stances as well as flexible and positive stances. USTR Ambassador Robert Lighthizer

disagrees that the EU has may impose tariffs because the US is now in compliance in the Boeing

matter. He reiterated that USTR would respond in kind to any EU retaliatory tariffs echoing the

statements in the previous notices that USTR would act “immediately” if the EU imposed such

tariffs. Similarly, Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis stated if necessary “we will be

forced to exercise our rights and impose similar tariffs.”

“Yet there is some hope here in parsing through the press releases,” said Tobiassen “because

both sides offered reconciling comments.” USTR said the US has shown “restraint” by not

imposing tariffs on the entire $7.5 billion and the U.S. is determined to find a solution to the civil

aircraft subsidies that would “restore fair competition and a level playing field to this

sector.” Significantly, no reference to additional compensation for the past economic and

business injury to Boeing was mentioned. The Trade Commissioner’s remarks too stressed that

the retaliatory tariffs “are not in the economic interest of either side, particularly as we strive to

recover from the Covid-19 recession. I have been engaging with my American counterpart,

Ambassador Lighthizer, and it is my hope that the U.S. will now drop the tariffs imposed on EU

exports last year. This would generate positive momentum both economically and politically,

and help us to find common ground in other key areas.”

NABI urges both side to agree to a 180-day truce where the EU will not impose any Boeing

tariffs and the U.S. will suspend the current Airbus tariffs for 180-days as a cooling off period

for serious settlement to commence. Both the U.S. trade law allows and USTR recent practice in

the Section 301 investigation of the French Digital Service Tax of suspending the retaliatory

tariffs for 180-days provides precedent because the parties have moved and are moving forward

as necessary to reach compliance with each of their WTO obligations. “Do not miss this

opportunity” said Tobiassen “for they do not often come along.”

For further information, please contact NABI at



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