US mulls $3.1bn of new tariffs on UK and European goods

The US is weighing up new tariffs on £3.1bn (GBP2.5bn) of exports from the UK, France, Germany and Spain as trade tensions between the Trump administration and Europe rise again.  The US Trade Representative (USTR) wants to impose new tariffs on European exports including olives, beer, gin and trucks, while increasing duties on certain products including aircrafts, and cheese, according to a notice published late last night. 

Read more: FTSE 100 falls as new coronavirus cases unsettle investors The proposed tariffs are part of an arsenal of measures the Trump administration could use against the UK and European Union that could result in transatlantic trade disputes later this summer. 

The move is linked to a 15-year battle between the US and Europe related to aircraft subsidies, with both sides accusing the other of unfairly subsidising local manufacturers.  The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has in the past ruled that both sides have illegally supported their respective aircraft industries.  In October, the WTO authorised President Trump to retaliate against £7.5bn of EU exports in response to Europe's illegal subsidising of Airbus. 

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The WTO is also expected to deliver a retaliation award to the EU next month in a related but separate case over US subsidies of Boeing.

The USTR has launched a month-long comment period on the proposals, which will end on 26 July. 

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