The World Trade Organization has given the United States approval to impose retaliatory tariffs on $7.5 billion worth of imports from the European Union.
The Trump administration objected to subsidies that the European Union gave to the aerospace company Airbus, which is based in France. Trump said that these subsidies "adversely impacted the United States."
The U.S. Trade Representative first announced that these particular tariffs were a possibility on July 1. At the time, it released a list of "89 tariff subheadings with an approximate trade value of $4 billion" for public comment. This list included cheeses like Romano, Parmesan, and provolone, as well as olives, coffee, pork, pasta, and whiskey.
On Wednesday, the World Trade Organization ruled that the U.S. did have a right to hit the European Union with retaliatory tariffs over the subsidies that the EU had already supplied to Airbus. The WTO is an international organization that settles trade disputes between its 164 members.
In a summary of its findings, the WTO said, "Airbus paid a lower interest rate for the A350XWB LA/MSF than would have been available to it on the market."
Because of this, the WTO said, "The United States may therefore request authorization from the DSB [dispute settlement body] to take countermeasures with respect to the European Union and certain member States...at a level not exceeding, in total, USD 7,496.623 million annually."
Politico reported that this amount was the highest penalty that the WTO had ever allowed in its history.
According to Politico, the EU is likely to try to respond to this decision by figuring out a way to legally slap tariffs of its own on imports from the United States.
The U.S. Trade Representative has yet to announce details of the U.S. tariff response.
On Tuesday, a woman in Italy gave Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a block of Parmesan cheese to protest the U.S. tariffs, telling him that the cheese was "made with our heart every day."
She told him to "give it to Mr. Trump please, and tell him we make it with our heart. We make it with our heart," before she was escorted away by security at the prompting of Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte,