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US, EU agree to end long-running Boeing-Airbus trade dispute amid Biden's visit to Brussels

President Joe Biden EU
Posted at 4:42 AM, Jun 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-15 08:59:35-04

BRUSSELS — The United States and the European Union have reached a deal to end a damaging dispute over subsidies to rival plane makers Boeing and Airbus and phase out billions of dollars in punitive tariffs.

The breakthrough came the same day that President Joe Biden met with leaders of the European Union in Brussels. Biden met Tuesday with European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, discussed U.S.-EU relations and his upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said Tuesday that the two sides have come to terms on a five-year agreement to suspend the tariffs at the center of the dispute. The agreement resolves a 17-year dispute over how much government subsidies each side can provide for its aircraft manufacturing giant — Boeing in the United States and Airbus in the EU.

The trade dispute saw tit-for-tat duties slapped on a range of companies that have nothing to do with aircraft production, from French winemakers to U.S. spirits producers.

The U.S. imposed $7.5 billion in tariffs on European exports in 2019. The EU retaliated with $4 billion in punitive duties.

Biden's visit with EU leaders came a day after he attended a NATO Summit in Brussels. Following that summit, Biden said in a press conference that he and other alliance leaders discussed his upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which will take place in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday.

"I shared with our allies what I’ll convey to President Putin, that I’m not looking for conflict with Russia, but that we will respond if Russia continues its harmful activities. And we will not fail to defend the transatlantic alliance or stand up for Democratic values," Biden said during remarks Monday following the summit.

He also took questions from reporters, one of which asked what a successful meeting with Putin would look like.

“I’m going to make clear to President Putin that there are areas where we can cooperate if he chooses. And if he chooses not to cooperate and acts in a way that he has in the past relative to cybersecurity and other activities, then we will respond,” Biden said.