Trump slams EU in aircraft dispute, pushes tariffs on $11 bln of imports

For more than 14 years, the US and the EU have accused each other of unfairly subsidizing Boeing and Airbus in a tit-for-tat dispute. (AFP)
Updated 09 April 2019

Trump slams EU in aircraft dispute, pushes tariffs on $11 bln of imports

  • ‘“This case has been in litigation for 14 years, and the time has come for action,’ said US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer
  • The Boeing-Airbus spat is the longest and most complicated dispute dealt with by the WTO

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the United States would impose tariffs on $11 billion of products from the European Union, a day after US trade officials proposed a list of EU products to target as part of an ongoing aircraft dispute.
“The World Trade Organization finds that the European Union subsidies to Airbus has adversely impacted the United States, which will now put Tariffs on $11 Billion of EU products! The EU has taken advantage of the US on trade for many years. It will soon stop!” Trump said in a post on Twitter.
The two sides have been locked in a years-long global trade dispute over mutual claims of illegal aid to plane giants, Netherlands-based Airbus and US-based Boeing, to gain advantage in the world jet business.
The US Trade Representative on Monday announced the planned products targeted in retaliation for European aircraft subsidies, with a final list expected this summer.
Meanwhile, the EU has started preparing to retaliate over Boeing subsidies, an EU official said on Tuesday.
The moves comes as the record subsidy dispute, which has been grinding its way through the WTO for almost 15 years, reaches a climax, with both sides in arbitration to decide the size of any countermeasures.


Saudi-led group reinstated as builder of Bulgaria gas pipeline

Updated 16 September 2019

Saudi-led group reinstated as builder of Bulgaria gas pipeline

  • Bulgaria’s Supreme Administrative Court announced that the Saudi-led group’s main competitors for the project had dropped a legal challenge relating to the award
  • Bulgaria’s state gas operator Bulgartransgaz had initially chosen the Saudi-led group — made up of Saudi Arabia’s Arkad Engineering and a joint venture including Switzerland’s ABB

SOFIA: A Saudi-led consortium was definitively reinstated on Monday as the builder of a new gas pipeline through Bulgaria, intended to hook up to Gazprom’s TurkStream project.
Bulgaria’s Supreme Administrative Court announced Monday that the Saudi-led group’s main competitors for the project had dropped a legal challenge relating to the award.
The latest development brings to an end a long-running tussle between the Saudi-led consortium and its competitors for the project, a consortium of Luxembourg-based Completions Development, Italy’s Bonatti and Germany’s Max Streicher.
Bulgaria’s state gas operator Bulgartransgaz had initially chosen the Saudi-led group — made up of Saudi Arabia’s Arkad Engineering and a joint venture including Switzerland’s ABB — to build the 474-kilometer (294-mile) pipeline.
But Bulgartransgaz later decided to strike the winner off the tender for failing to supply documents needed to sign off the contract.
Instead it accepted the offer of the second-placed consortium led by Completions Development.
However, Bulgaria’s competition watchdog ruled in July that the operator should honor its previous commitments and sign a contract with the Saudi-led group.
The watchdog’s verdict was subject to a final appeal in the courts but the Supreme Administrative Court announced Monday that the appeal had been withdrawn, meaning that the Arkad-led group has now been definitively reinstated.
Bulgartransgaz is in a hurry to complete the pipeline as soon as possible in a bid to enable Russian gas giant Gazprom to hook it up to its TurkStream pipeline after it becomes operational at the end of this year.
Bulgaria, which is heavily dependent on Russian gas for its domestic needs, has been repeatedly criticized by both the EU and the United States for failing to diversify both its gas sources and its delivery routes.
The Balkan country hopes to start receiving Caspian Sea gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field as well as liquefied natural gas from various sources via terminals in Greece through a 182-kilometer (113-mile) interconnector expected to be ready by the end of 2020.