Irish Whiskey, Olive Oil and Waffles Could Face Tariffs Up to 100 Percent


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WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is considering tariffs as high as 100 percent on Scotch and Irish whiskey, Belgian waffles and wines from across Europe, as part of its retaliation against the European Union for illegal airline subsidies.

The World Trade Organization ruled in favor of the United States this year in a dispute centering on European support for the aerospace giant Airbus that has lasted 15 years. In May, the W.T.O. ruled that Europe’s financial assistance to Airbus violated global trade rules. In September, it effectively authorized the Trump administration to impose tariffs of up to $7.5 billion a year on European imports, pending negotiations over the removal of the subsidies.

The administration unveiled an initial list of tariffs in October. This month — after Europeans suffered another setback in the dispute at the hands of the W.T.O. — administration officials said they would expand the list and increase tariffs already in place.

On Thursday, the United States Trade Representative published the updated list, which comprises a variety of products that many Americans buy from Europe, including:

  • Dairy products such as yogurt, butter and several types of cheese, like Cheddar, Parmesan, Emmenthaler and Gouda.

  • Olives and olive oil.

  • Sweet biscuits, waffles and wafers.

  • Axes, pliers and bolt cutters.

  • Cashmere sweaters, men’s suits, women’s swimwear and blankets.

  • Wine.

  • Sparkling wine.

  • Grape brandy.

  • Scotch and Irish whiskey.

The trade representative also said it was considering raising tariff rates on imported items that are already subject to 25 percent tariffs as part of the Airbus dispute.

The Trump administration has increasingly seized on tariffs to punish Europe. In addition to considering tariffs on German cars, the United States is mulling separate tariffs on French wine and other products as retaliation for a new tax that the administration says unfairly targets American technology companies.

This year, France passed a so-called digital service tax, which hits large companies that sell and advertise to French consumers but have not faced large tax liabilities in France.

The U.S.T.R. this month recommended tariffs up to 100 percent on $2.4 billion of French products after declaring the tax a threat to America’s national security. Some of those products — most notably French wines and cheeses — are also on the new list released on Friday.

Mr. Trump told reporters this month that the U.S.T.R. finding was justified. “They’re starting to tax other people’s products,” he said. “So therefore we go and tax them.”

The extension of tariffs on the European Union is a rare example of the Trump administration’s agreeing with the W.T.O. Administration officials have frequently criticized the body, which they call unfair to the United States, and they have worked to undermine its effectiveness.

The administration has blocked new appointments to a crucial panel at the organization that hears appeals in trade disputes. This week, the terms of two appointees to the panel expired, leaving the panel without sufficient membership to hear new cases. That means there will be no official resolutions of many global trade disputes for the foreseeable future.


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