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.


Turkey on brink of recession as economy collapses

Updated 13 August 2020

Turkey on brink of recession as economy collapses

  • Consumer debt has increased by 25 percent to more than $100 billion in the past three months

JEDDAH: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s popularity is plunging in lockstep with Turkey’s collapsing economy and the country is on the verge of a potentially devastating recession, financial experts have told Arab News.
The value of the Turkish lira has fallen to 7.30 against the US dollar and the central bank has spent $65 billion to prop up the currency, according to the US investment bank Goldman Sachs.
Consumer debt has increased by 25 percent to more than $100 billion in the past three months as the government moved to help families during the coronavirus pandemic, but the result has been a surge in inflation to 12 percent.
With the falling lira and increased price of imported goods, the living standards of many Turks who earn in lira but have dollar debts have fallen sharply.
The economy is expected to shrink by about 4 percent this year. The official unemployment rate remains at 12.8 percent because layoffs are banned, although many experts say the real figures are far higher.
To complete the perfect storm, tourism revenues and exports have been decimated by the pandemic, and foreign capital has fled amid fears over economic trends and the independence of the central bank.
Wolfango Piccoli, of Teneo Intelligence in London, said logic dictated an increase in interest rates but “this is unlikely to happen.”
Piccoli said central bank officials would strive to avoid an outright rate hike at their monetary policy meeting on Aug. 20. “A mix of controlled devaluation and backdoor policies, such as limiting Turkish lira’s liquidity, remains their preferred approach,” he said.
There is speculation of snap elections, and Erdogan’s view is that higher interest rates cause inflation, despite considerable economic evidence to the contrary.