EU Says Boeing-Airbus Dispute Can Be Settled Under Trump

The European Union’s top trade official held out the prospect of a long-sought deal with the U.S. on aircraft subsidies before President Donald Trump leaves office.

EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said “it’s possible” that both sides will reach an agreement by Jan. 20 governing aid to Boeing Co. and Airbus SE. He reiterated an offer to remove EU retaliatory tariffs on $4 billion of American goods if the U.S. does the same for its duties on $7.5 billion of European products.

EU Says Boeing-Airbus Dispute Can Be Settled Under Trump

“The solution which would be preferred by the EU would be that both sides withdraw or at least suspend their tariffs and we reach agreement on future disciplines in the area of civil aviation,” Dombrovskis said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Thursday. “We are still intensively engaged with the current U.S. administration.”

An accord before the incoming administration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden would mark a surprise turn of events after months of tensions and stalemate -- and officials in Europe are cautious about the likelihood of an imminent breakthrough.

The latest push for talks between Washington and Brussels is aimed at finally resolving a 16-year dispute at the Geneva-based World Trade Organization, which ruled that both the U.S. and the EU excessively subsidized their domestic aerospace industries in violation of their international trade commitments.

The governments of Germany, France, Spain and the U.K. provided Airbus with subsidies through launch-aid loans for aircraft development, equity infusions, debt forgiveness and various other financial contributions.

In the U.S., Boeing benefited from subsidies through a since-withdrawn Washington state business and occupation tax break.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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