On 8 April 2019 the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced that it is initiating an investigation under Section 301 of the Trade Act 1974 to enforce the United States' rights in the World Trade Organisation dispute involving subsidies provided to the large civil aircraft industry by the European Union. The investigation may result in tariffs of up to 100% on certain imports from the 28 EU member states as soon as 1 June 2019.
The USTR's preliminary product list is based on the eight-digit US Harmonised Tariff Schedule subheading for imports from the European Union. The list is divided into two sections:
- Section 1 contains a number of products in the civil aviation sector (eg, aircrafts, helicopters and parts) and applies only to products imported from four EU member states: France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom.
- Section 2 contains 318 tariff lines and applies to all 28 EU member states. Section 2 contains, among other things, animal and vegetable products, prepared food, beverages (including wine) and textile products.
The full product lists are provided in Annex 1.
Due to the significant potential impact that these additional tariffs may have on a wide range of EU products, importers should consider filing written comments and appearing at the public hearing if they import any of the listed products in Annex 1.
The schedule for the notice and comment process is as follows:
- 6 May 2019 – interested parties must file requests to appear at the hearing and a summary of the expected testimony to be presented. Each presenter's testimony is limited to 5 minutes.
- 15 May 2019 – USTR's Section 301 Committee will hold a public hearing on the proposed tariffs at the US International Trade Commission.
- 28 May 2019 – interested persons must file written comments on the proposed tariffs, including any rebuttal comments to testimony presented at the hearing.
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