US increasing tariffs on Airbus planes to 15 percent

An airport worker guides a Delta Air Lines Airbus A319-100 plane on the tarmac at LAX in Los Angeles, California, on Jan. 6, 2020. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo)
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Updated 15 February 2020

US increasing tariffs on Airbus planes to 15 percent

  • Airbus says higher US tariffs on EU planes will harm US airlines, consumers
  • Trump wants EU member states to further open their markets to American products, particularly agricultural goods

WASHINGTON: The United States is increasing tariffs on Airbus planes imported from Europe to 15 percent beginning March 18, authorities announced Friday.
The duties have been at 10 percent since October, when Washington hit $7.5 billion in European products with tariffs.
The announcement from the office of the United States Trade Representative came just days after President Donald Trump said it was time to talk “very seriously” about a trade deal with the European Union.
Washington imposed punitive taxes on the $7.5 billion in European products after the World Trade Organization (WTO) gave the United States a green light to take retaliatory trade measures against the EU over its subsidies to European aerospace giant Airbus.
Other products — including wine, cheese, coffee and olives — have been taxed at 25 percent since October.
Industry executives in Europe and the United States are on tenterhooks awaiting each new announcement from trade authorities.
“It has become abundantly clear that tariffs on distilled spirits products are causing rough seas on both sides of the Atlantic,” the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States said in a statement Friday.
The council called on authorities to withdraw 25 percent taxes on American whiskeys in the EU, and 25 percent taxes on liquors imported from five European countries, pointing to fears of a negative impact on the US economy and jobs.
But Trump, a real estate developer turned politician, sees tariffs as a negotiating tool.
After a trade war with China that lasted nearly two years and featured punishing reciprocal tariffs, Trump declared at the signing of a “phase one” trade deal with Beijing in January that it was a “momentous step ... righting the wrongs of the past.”
Airbus said the US government’s decision will hit US airlines already facing a shortage of aircraft and complicate efforts to reach a negotiated settlement with the European Union.
The European planemaker said it would continue discussions with its US customers to “mitigate effects of tariffs insofar as possible” and hoped the US Trade Representative’s office would change its position.
“USTR’s decision ignores the many submissions made by US airlines, highlighting the fact that they – and the US flying public – ultimately have to pay these tariffs,” the company said in a statement.
Trump has now turned his sights to Europe though relations remain tense as Washington brandishes the threat of taxing European auto imports, a move targeting Germany, Europe’s biggest auto exporter.
Trump wants EU member states to further open their markets to American products, particularly agricultural goods.
He has also threatened to hike tariffs on French wine — currently taxed at 25 percent — even further unless there is a deal on a digital tax which European nations want to impose on American giants such as Amazon and Facebook.


S&P downgrades trio of Dubai developers as pandemic hits property and retail

Updated 35 min 14 sec ago

S&P downgrades trio of Dubai developers as pandemic hits property and retail

  • Gulf states are being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic that has come at a time of weak oil prices

RIYADH: The credit ratings of three Dubai property companies were downgraded by S&P as the coronavirus pandemic hits confidence in the retail and real estate sectors.
S&P Global Ratings reduced the credit ratings for the real estate developer Emaar Properties as well as Emaar Malls to +BB from -BBB with a negative forward outlook, adding that it sees a “weakening across all its business segments” in 2020. S&P also cut its rating for DIFC Investments to +BB from -BBB, while keeping a stable outlook.
Gulf states are being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic that has come at a time of weak oil prices, heaping pressure on governments, companies and employees.
The ratings agency expects the emirate’s economy to shrink by 11 percent this year
“The supply-demand imbalance in the realty sector appears to have been exacerbated by the pandemic. We now expect to see international demand for Dubai’s property to be subdued, and the fall in residential prices to be steeper than we had expected, lingering well into 2021” S&P reported.
Despite easing restrictions and the opening of the economy, S&P said that overall macroeconomic conditions remained challenging.
Global travel restrictions and social distancing constraints “significantly weigh on Dubai’s tourism and hospitality sectors” the rating agency reported.
Still, Dubai’s tourism chief was upbeat on the emirate’s prospects when international tourism resumes.
“Once we do get to the other side, as we start to talk about next year and later on, we see very much a quick uptick. Because once things normalize, people will go back to travel again,” Helal Al-Marri, director general of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing told AFP in an interview.