For 14 years, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has tried to persuade the EU—specifically France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom—to stop subsidizing Airbus. As a countermeasure, the USTR has begun its process under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 to “identify products of the EU to which additional duties may be applied.” The preliminary list of EU products are within the civil aviation section. The Section 301 duties would be applied until the EU removes the subsidies.
The USTR estimates the subsidies have resulted in harm in the amount of $11 billion in trade each year. The EU challenged that estimate, and the World Trade Organization (WTO) anticipates issuing the arbitration results this summer. Their findings may affect the $11 billion figure, which would impact the amount of Section 301 duties.
There are two proposed lists of commodities that may be included. The first list applies to civil aircraft goods from France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom, but the second applies to all EU countries. The full background of the subsidies and a preliminary list of EU products can be found in the USTR news release dated April 8, 2019. A hearing will be held on May 15, 2019, in Washington, DC. Those wishing to attend must submit a request in writing by May 6, 2019. Additional details on the hearing and the proposed Section 301 countermeasures are available in the Federal Register notice.