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Additional US duties on EU exports, including Irish butter and cheddar, are to continue, likely for least another 6 months, following the decision of the US in mid-February to maintain the 25% punitive tariff.

Meeting with the European Commission’s DG Agriculture at the time of this announcement, ICOS raised the concerns of the industry regarding the impact of these ongoing tariffs on 2020 exports, especially with our spring flush now just around the corner.

These punitive tariffs are the result of a WTO decision in favour of the US in a dispute regarding subsidies for the EU airplane manufacturer, Airbus.  

A decision is expected from the WTO in June on the value of the EU’s compensation entitlement in a similar case against the US airplane manufacturer, Boeing. 

It is not until this decision is announced that we can expect negotiations between the trading blocks for the removal of the tariffs to even begin, with a lot depending on the value of the EU’s entitlement in comparison to the €7.5 billion/year awarded to the USA.

EU Commissioner for Trade, Phil Hogan, has acknowledged these difficulties for the sector and has made two trips to Washington already in 2020, seeking to ease trade tensions. In addition, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is due to travel to the US to meet with US President Donald Trump in the coming weeks, with the expectation that the meeting will result in a “political declaration” to work towards building a more positive trading relationship.

Alison Graham – European Affairs Executive