The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has announced proposed tariffs on $4 billion worth of goods imported from the European Union to the United States.
Why is US proposing tariffs?
According to a news release on Monday, these tariffs could be used "in order to enforce U.S. rights in the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute against the European Union (EU) and certain EU member states regarding EU subsidies on large civil aircraft."
President Donald Trump has threatened the EU with tariffs before over its subsidies to Airbus, which is headquartered in Toulouse, France. The company also has engineering and training centers in the United States. In April, Trump said that the WTO had found "that the European Union subsidies to Airbus has adversely impacted the United States." At the time, he threatened them with tariffs on $21 billion in goods. The tariffs announced Tuesday would be in addition to this.
The release also said:
This supplemental list adds 89 tariff subheadings with an approximate trade value of $4 billion to the initial list published on April 12, which included tariff subheadings with an approximate trade value of $21 billion. USTR is adding to the initial list with the supplemental list in response to public comments and additional analysis.
The products that would be hit by these tariffs include frozen meat, olives, coffee, pasta, whiskey, and a variety of cheeses including edam, gouda, romano, parmesan, provolone, and gruyere.
These wouldn't be the first tariffs the US placed on the EU
In March 2018, President Donald Trump announced steep tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum to the United States. At first the European Union as well as Canada and Mexico were given exceptions. However, by June 2018, these exceptions had ended.
In response, the European Union slapped tariffs of its own on goods imported from the United States, including blue jeans, bourbon, peanut butter, and motorcycles.
Trump is an outspoken fan of tariffs, calling them "the greatest" in a July 24 tweet. However, critics have pointed out that the cost of these tariffs are often paid not by foreign countries, but by U.S. importers. The tariffs have also had a negative impact on U.S. farmers, who have had to receive billions in federal bailouts to counteract their effects.