UK minister 'disappointed' in US refusal to drop EU tariffs

President Trump said the WTO's ruling was a 'big win' for the United States
President Trump said the WTO's ruling was a 'big win' for the United States

A UK trade minister has expressed 'deep disappointment' with the US for refusing to drop prohibitive tariffs on various EU products.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) gave the US the green light last month to apply up to $7.5bn (£5.8bn) of retaliatory tariffs-a-year on products imported from the EU.

This is as a result of the Airbus-Boeing dispute. Both the US and EU claim that each others aeroplane manufacturer is unfairly subsidised.

The tariffs cover a range of goods, also including Scotch whisky, cheese and other dairy products, fruit, seafood, wine and clothing.

UK pig producers have also expressed its 'grave concerns' regarding the tariffs of 25 percent imposed on EU pork.

The National Pig Association (NPA) wrote to International Trade Secretary Liz Truss last month regarding the situation.

According to AHDB, the UK exported 11,200 tonnes of frozen pork to the US last year, around 11% of the UK’s total frozen pork exports, much of it high value premium product. The trade was worth £33.4 million in 2018.

NPA chairman Richard Lister told Ms Truss: “A great deal of industry, producer and government resource has been put into opening the USA export market.

“The nature of the trade has largely been the export of premium, high value, high welfare pigs raised without antibiotics.

“As I am sure you are aware, this is not a standard of production common to the USA, and as a result it is a popular product there.”

He urged Ms Truss to work with Defra and the relevant US authorities to resolve the matter.

Responding, international trade minister Conor Burns said he shared the group's concerns about the ‘potentially negative effect these tariffs could have on the industry’.

“The Secretary of State and I are deeply disappointed that the US has not reconsidered its position on these retaliatory measures,” he said.

“We are clear in all our engagement with the US that tariffs are not in the interest of the UK, EU or US and we will continue to strongly press the case against tariffs and for a negotiated settlement.

Prime minister Boris Johnson has directly urged US president Donald Trump to reconsider the tariffs.

Mr Johnson's spokesman said: “We are disappointed that the US have published this list. Resorting to tariffs is not in anyone's interest.

“The UK is working closely with the US and EU to support a negotiated settlement to the Airbus-Boeing dispute and to avoid these tariffs from coming in to force.”