US tariffs on French wine, Airbus and Scottish whisky come into force

European goods covered by a $7.5 billion tariffs that the US announced in retaliation against the EU over Airbus subsidies

WASHINGTON:The US tariffs on products from the European Union (EU) worth $7.5 billion took effect on Friday midnight.

US President Donald Trump boasted on Wednesday that Washington could not lose a tariff war, as had been supposedly proven in the ongoing trade dispute with China, despite no evidence to that claim. The EU has imposed a 25 percent tariff on American Whiskey exports since June 2018, in retaliation to the USA administration's steel tariff.

"These decisions would have very negative consequences both from an economic and a political point of view". "We don't want to negotiate with a gun (to) our head".

Dennis Shea, the United States trade ambassador said in the meeting even after WTO authorized for tariffs, Washington reportedly still preferred negotiation to find a solution.

The WTO ruling, however, does not restrict the U.S. tariffs from targeting industries beyond aviation. The two sides have been involved in a row over the subsidies for 15 years.

"We regret the choice of the USA to move ahead with tariffs", European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said in a statement after attempts to negotiate a truce went nowhere.

The Europeans fear above all that Mr Trump will impose heavy duties on imports of European cars around mid-next month.

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The WTO ruling a "big win for the United States", Trump said.

Trade groups in Europe such as winemakers, German tool manufacturers and whisky producers in Scotland have kept up a clamour of protest, demanding that Washington reverse tack.

The US leader and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker agreed in July 2018 to a ceasefire in the conflict to hold trade talks that have so far led nowhere.

The US punitive tariffs are countermeasures in response to subsidies for Airbus, authorized by the World Trade Organization (WTO).

"So we are very supportive of engaging in a constructive manner, finding a better way to deal with each other, a more constructive way to deal with each other", she said.

"Finally, after 15 years of litigation, the WTO has confirmed that the United States is entitled to impose countermeasures in response to the EU's illegal subsidies", USTR Robert Lighthizer said.

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