Macron floats brokered Airbus-Boeing accord to Biden: report

by AFP

NEW YORK – French President Emmanuel Macron (picture) told US President Joe Biden that the leaders could broker a settlement to the long-running trade dispute between Boeing and Airbus, according to a media report on Wednesday.

Macron raised the idea in a phone call with Biden on January 24, reported CNBC, citing a person familiar with the conversation.

Biden responded that his administration would follow up with counterparts, but was “noncommittal on the outcome,” CNBC said.

The official readouts of the calls from both the American and French governments did not mention the aerospace issue.

“We know there is great interest in resolving the Boeing-Airbus dispute on both sides of the Atlantic,” Adam Hodge, a spokesman for the US Trade Representative (USTR), told AFP but refused to confirm or deny CNBC’s report. 

“USTR looks forward to working with our European allies to find an outcome that levels the playing field once Ambassador (Katherine) Tai is confirmed” in her new position as the body’s chief by the Senate, Hodge added.

The United States and European Union have since 2004 been squabbling over alleged unfair trade practices, with both sides claiming the other provided support to private companies that violate international trade agreements.

Both sides have won rulings from the World Trade Organization (WTO) that permit punitive tariffs.

The US Trade Representative in December announced new tariffs on aircraft parts, wine, cognac and brandies from France and Germany, adding to a long list of products from EU countries that have been subject to 25 percent duties since 2019.

The European Commission said in response to the move that it “regrets that the United States has chosen to add further EU products to its retaliation list in the WTO Airbus case on aircraft subsidies.”

After a WTO ruling in October, the EU in November levied additional customs duties on $4 billion worth of American products including Boeing planes and also farm produce, such as wheat and tobacco, plus strong alcohol and chocolate.