July 16, 2019

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U.S. Announces Possible Retaliatory Tariffs on European Union for Airbus Subsidies

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced in a Federal Register notice published July 5 that the agency is considering increasing duties on certain goods from the European Union (EU). This move is connected to a long-running World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute involving EU subsidies for Airbus, the aircraft manufacturing company.

The USTR has invited public comments on the proposed list and will hold a public hearing on Aug. 5, 2019.

Requests to appear at the hearing are due to the USTR by July 24, and written comments are due by Aug. 5. The public comment and hearing process will provide importers of goods from the EU, as well as domestic producers that compete with EU producers, the opportunity to be heard with regard to the products that may be subject to tariffs.

In April 2019, the USTR published a preliminary list of goods from the EU that could be targeted with tariffs, which included aircraft, motorcycles and wine. The July 5 list contains additional products, including whiskey, coffee, olives, pasta, cheese, pork, and metals, among other items. The goods on both lists are collectively worth about $25 billion of imports per year.

The tariffs stem from a WTO case filed by the United States in 2004, which was resolved by the WTO Appellate Body in 2011. In that case, European Communities and Certain member States — Measures Affecting Trade in Large Civil Aircraft (DS316), the Appellate Body found that certain EU subsidies for Airbus failed to comply with the WTO’s Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM Agreement).

The EU made certain changes to its subsidy regime in response to the Appellate Body’s decision, but the U.S. later asked the WTO to determine that the EU had not fully complied with the decision. That request led to another Appellate Body decision published in May 2018, in which the Appellate Body agreed with the U.S. that the EU was still not in compliance with the SCM Agreement.

The WTO is expected to determine the amount of retaliatory tariffs the United States can impose sometime this summer, and the April and July 2019 tariffs proposed by the USTR are likely being prepared in anticipation of the WTO decision.

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David M. Spooner, Barnes Thornburg Law Firm, Washington DC, Corporate and Finance Law Attorney
Partner

David M. Spooner is a partner in the Corporate Department and Co-Chair of the International Trade Practice Group. Mr. Spooner represents governments, trade associations, and corporate clients on international trade matters, including trade remedies, trade policy and customs issues. He uses his past experience as a high-level political appointee in the Executive Branch and on Capitol Hill to assist clients with their advocacy efforts before both branches of government, as well as before foreign governments.

Prior to entering private practice, Mr...

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Linda M. Weinberg International trade lawyer Barnes Thornburg
Partner

Linda Weinberg provides practical advice to business and institutional clients on international trade law, including export controls, foreign assets control and customs. She works regularly with the U.S. and foreign government agencies that regulate international trade to help clients realize their distinct objectives surrounding their global commerce initiatives.

Co-chair of the firm’s International Trade practice group, Linda advises and represents clients on commodity jurisdiction, export classification, licensing, technical assistance agreements, and enforcement related to defense articles and dual-use items, encryption software and technical data and services. Her experience extends to a range of industries, including aerospace, satellite, nuclear, electronics, defense, security and software, among others. She has represented clients in export control matters elevated to the inter-agency Operating Committee and the Advisory Committee on Export Policy.

Linda is a member of the core team assisting the Special Compliance Coordinator appointed by the U.S. Department of Commerce to monitor, assess and report on the U.S. export control compliance of Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation, of Shenzhen, China, and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Ltd. of Hi-New Shenzhen, China (collectively, ZTE).

In addition, Linda provides clients with counseling, licensing services and enforcement representation with respect to U.S. economic sanctions, related USA PATRIOT Act issues, anti-boycott regulation and CFIUS. Notably, she assists research and development companies and universities in complying with U.S. export control laws, particularly with respect to technology transfers to foreign national researchers and students.

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Timo Rehbock International Corporate Lawyer Barnes Thornburg Law Firm
Partner

Chair of the firm’s European practice group, Timo Rehbock advises on domestic and international corporate and commercial matters. His experience ranges from general commercial contracts to private equity and venture capital investments, mergers, acquisitions, restructurings, financings, and strategic alliances.

Timo has a strong domestic and an established international corporate and commercial law practice. He has more than a decade of experience in representing clients on complex inbound and outbound matters. Fluent in English, German, French, and Spanish, Timo advises clients on...

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Kristen McCannon Associate, Barnes and Thornburg, Corporate Law, trade policy, duty matters
Associate

Kristen focuses her practice on representing and defending clients in antidumping and countervailing duty matters before the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) and other federal agencies. She also advises clients regarding customs, export controls and sanctions.

Because of her prior experience, she has the ability to explain the regulatory process to her clients in a way that makes it easier to grasp, which allows her to more efficiently assist them in addressing investigations and related issues.

Before joining Barnes & Thornburg, Kristen was an attorney in the Office of...

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