The ongoing trade tensions between the EU and the U.S. started years ago, when the case was presented before the World Trade Organization (WTO) regarding state support for aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing. In October 2019, the U.S. applied tariffs on several EU products, following permission by the WTO. This time, the EU hits back with additional tariffs on a list of over 100 products coming from the U.S., which includes 15% on Boeing’s large commercial aircraft and 25% on a range of industrial and agricultural goods, as well as leather handbags and suitcases. The WTO formally authorised the EU on October 26 to take such countermeasures.

“We have made clear all along that we want to settle this long-running issue. Regrettably, due to lack of progress with the U.S., we had no other choice but to impose these countermeasures”, said Valdis Dombrovskis, European Commissioner for Trade. The commission said that the EU countermeasures “bring the EU equal footing with the U.S., with sizeable tariffs on each side based on two WTO decisions related to aircraft subsidies”.

According to the Leather and Hide Council of America (LHCA), the preponderance of U.S. hide, skin, and leather exports to the EU are not subject to the tariffs.