The Trans-Atlantic Business Council (TABC) is currently the largest cross-sectoral organization representing companies from both the United States (U.S.) and the European Union (EU) in support of a strong transatlantic agenda in trade and investment. It was founded in 2013 by the merger of the Trans-Atlantic Business Dialogue and the European American Business Council.
The TABC encourages the promotion and enhancement of transatlantic economic integration and political ties between the EU and U.S. towards the reduction of trade barriers and the creation of a fair level playing field for businesses.
The TABC is following and assessing the developments of the recent WTO ruling regarding U.S. measures affecting trade in large civil aircraft (the so-called Boeing Dispute) and, in particular, the EU public consultation on the preliminary list of U.S. products that would be hit with increased customs duties.
While we understand and respect the European Commission’s approach, we would like to express our deep concern that imposing increased duties on products originating in the U.S. would have negative repercussions and overshadow recent efforts to improve transatlantic trade relations. This is also true of the U.S. preparations to impose additional duties on a list of EU originating goods as a result of the WTO ruling regarding EU and certain member states’ measures affecting trade in large civil aircraft (the so-called Airbus Dispute). We are concerned the mutual imposition of retaliatory duties would inevitably result in the escalation of transatlantic trade tensions, which is particularly inconvenient, as trade negotiations have been launched.
Additionally, increased duties would make goods more expensive, especially for lower income consumers, limit consumers’ choice and have a negative impact throughout the whole chain of products, thereby penalising consumers, workers and businesses on both sides of the Atlantic. We thus call on the EU and U.S. to work to ensure the adverse effects of the large civil aircraft disputes do not extend to a large number of unrelated productive sectors that are covered by the respective preliminary lists. The TABC would also encourage both parties to settle the above-mentioned WTO disputes by maintaining a constructive dialogue without resorting to tit-for-tat tariffs.
The EU and the U.S. are key strategic partners, whose commercial relationship underpins the entire global economy and whose shared views should also contribute to reinforce the global trade governance to meet a level playing field for all players. The key, long-term objective of both sides should be resolving trade irritants and promoting free trade with fair rules and global governance. In this context, the TABC reiterates its willingness to play a constructive role to promote dialogue with both parties and provide its support towards a fair outcome of the disputes.
In line with the July 2018 Joint Statement, the EU and the U.S. should pursue a new phase of strong trade relations by reducing barriers and increasing free trade. The imposition of additional duties would go in the opposite direction from the intention expressed by President Trump and President Juncker last July.