Once again, EU could impose additional customs duties as a result of ongoing US trade dispute

The European Commission ("Commission") has published a preliminary list of products originating from the United States ("US") that could face additional customs duties when imported in the European Union ("EU").

At an earlier stage of the ongoing trade controversy between the EU and the US, the EU imposed additional customs duties on US originating products in view of US trade measures related to EU-origin steel and aluminium. Further, more trade measures and countermeasures may be on the horizon in view of possible US-duties on EU-origin cars, although we stress that the outcome of the US investigation on the possible introduction of car import duties is still not publicly known.

The preliminary list that is recently published comprises a new set of US-origin products on which additional customs duties will be imposed and is considered as a countermeasure in view of the ongoing trade dispute on aircraft subsidies between the US and the EU. The list comprises among others:

  • Fish;
  • Sunflower seeds; 
  • Tomato ketchup;
  • Tobacco-seed oil;
  • Vodka and wines;
  • Certain chemicals;
  • Trunks, suitcases and handbags;
  • Agricultural vehicles;
  • Helicopters;
  • Aircraft; and, 
  • Video game consoles and machines.

What's next?

Both the aftermath of the EU-US trade dispute on aircraft subsidies at the World Trade Organization ("WTO") as well as the input from EU stakeholders who may be affected by the additional customs duties will determine as to whether and to what extent these duties will take effect. EU businesses that may be affected by the additional customs duties concerned are invited to provide comment to the (preliminary) list by 31 May 2019 at the latest.

In addition, it is worth mentioning that the US and the EU are in ongoing trade discussions in view of settling their trade disputes and negotiating a free trade agreement in view of industrial goods. These trade talks may therefore be the start of the end of the ongoing trade disputes currently raging the trade relations between the US and EU.

Our Trade & Customs team is closely following the EU-US trade relationship and will keep you updated with regard to any new relevant developments.

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