The European Union hits the United States with $ 4 billion in tariffs, while it hopes Biden will achieve better relations

The European Union will impose tariffs on imports of $ 4 billion in US goods starting Tuesday, while hoping that President-elect Joe Biden will promote a sharp improvement in transatlantic relations.

The bloc will exercise its right to take countermeasures granted by the World Trade Organization last month in a case against US aircraft maker Boeing, part of a long-running battle between the United States and the European Union over civil aviation support.

“We have made it clear at every stage that we want to settle this long-standing issue,” European Union Trade Commissioner Valdes Dombrovskis told a news conference after a video conference of EU trade ministers.

“Unfortunately, despite our best efforts (and) due to the lack of progress on the part of the United States, we can assure that later today the European Union will exercise our rights and impose countermeasures granted to us by the World Trade Organization in relation to Boeing.”

This means that the tariffs, which are set to hurt US exports in aircraft, spare parts and a range of agricultural products, will come into effect on Tuesday, he added.

Dombrovskis, Vice President of the European Commission, repeated the European Union’s offer that the bloc would suspend its measures if the United States did the same, but said that Washington had not yet agreed to do so.

In the same press conference, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said that many European Union countries view Biden’s victory in the election as an opportunity to reshape trade policy.

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“We will try to get a new start in trade policy between the United States and all member states,” said Altmire, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the European Union.

He added that Europe’s goal is to find new common ground with the future Biden administration and then reduce customs duties as much as possible.

President Donald Trump, with whom relations have soured in Europe, has not abdicated as he files legal challenges to the November 3 election result.

Altmire said, “There are great expectations and hope that the US presidential elections will lead to a return to multilateral participation in international trade and that past conflicts can be overcome.”

Dombrowskis said the European Commission, which coordinates trade policy for the EU’s 27 member states, has had some informal contact with the Biden team.

“So some first contacts were made, among other things also, to discuss trade issues,” he said.