WTO says EU can put tariffs on $4 billion of US goods

GENEVA (AP) — International arbitrators said Tuesday that the European Union can impose tariffs and other penalties on up to $4 billion worth of U.S. goods and services over illegal American support for plane maker Boeing. The move further sours transatlantic ties at a time when the coronavirus has doused trade and savaged economies.

The ruling by the World Trade Organization arbitrators, which could inflame Trump administration criticism of the Geneva-based body, amounts to one of the largest penalties handed down by the WTO.

It comes a year after another ruling authorized the United States to slap penalties on EU goods worth up to $7.5 billion – including Gouda cheese, single-malt whiskey and French wine – over the bloc’s support for Boeing rival Airbus.

Now the EU can have its own turn at trade punishment, and has already been considering which American products it could target. A preliminary list that the bloc has released suggests it could go after a wide range of products including frozen fish and shellfish, dried fruit, tobacco, rum and vodka, handbags, motorcycle parts and tractors.


In the past in trade disputes, the EU has sought to roughly match products affected by previous American sanctions — such as by hitting U.S. distillers if French wines were targeted. The bloc could aim for areas where Boeing planes or parts are made.

The latest WTO decision is final, cannot be appealed, and puts the final word on a standoff dating back to 2006. It is just one part of a string of long-running disputes between the two plane-making giants at the WTO. And it sets the stage for what could become intense negotiation between the EU and U.S. to end what could become tit-for-tat transatlantic sanctions.

The arbitrators were tasked with setting a dollar value in sanctions such

Race to WTO Leadership Is Down to the Final Two Candidates

(Bloomberg) —

World Trade Organization members selected two final candidates — Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee — to advance to the final round in the race to lead the Geneva-based trade body, according to people familiar with the matter.

By advancing two women to the final round of the selection process, the WTO will likely have the first female director general in its 25-year history.



Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala wearing a hat: Key Speakers At The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)


© Bloomberg
Key Speakers At The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

Okonjo-Iweala served two stints as Nigeria’s finance minister and one term as foreign affairs minister. She has experience working at international governance bodies as a former managing director of the World Bank and as a chairman at the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization.

Yoo is South Korea’s trade minister. During her 25-year career in government, she has helped expand her country’s trade network through bilateral accords with China, the U.K. and the U.S.



a woman standing in front of a window: South Korea Deputy Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee Interview


© Bloomberg
South Korea Deputy Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee Interview

Yoo Myung-hee

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Photographer: Jean Chung/Bloomberg

WTO General Council Chairman David Walker plans to formally announce the results to the institution’s delegates on Thursday morning in Geneva.

“They’re both very well qualified, it’s going to be a fight,” said William Reinsch, a trade official in the Clinton administration and senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The top challenge will be “restoring the organization to full strength and viability, and restoring its reputation. “You need members to have confidence that the WTO is capable of solving problems. I think right now that confidence is eroded.”

Yoo told Bloomberg TV last month that she wanted the WTO to offer a meaningful platform for the U.S. and China to discuss their trade disputes. She vowed to play the role of mediator,

India and South Africa ask WTO to waive rules to aid COVID-19 drug production

FILE PHOTO: A logo is pictured outside the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters next to a red traffic light in Geneva, Switzerland, October 2, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

VIENNA (Reuters) – India and South Africa want the World Trade Organization (WTO) to waive intellectual property rules to make it easier for developing countries to produce or import COVID-19 drugs, a letter here&Open=True to the WTO shows.

In their letter dated Oct. 2 the two countries called on the global trade body to waive parts of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which governs patents, trademarks, copyright and other intellectual property rules globally.

“As new diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines for COVID-19 are developed, there are significant concerns (over) how these will be made available promptly, in sufficient quantities and at (an) affordable price to meet global demand,” the letter posted on the Geneva-based WTO’s website says.

The two countries said that developing nations are disproportionately affected by the pandemic and that intellectual property rights, including patents, could be a barrier to the provision of affordable medicine.

The letter asks that the WTO’s Council for TRIPS recommends a waiver to the General Council, the WTO’s top decision-making body in Geneva, “as early as possible”. It does not say how much support India and South Africa have from other countries.

A draft General Council decision text submitted with the letter says the waiver should last an as yet unspecified number of years and be reviewed annually.

Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by David Goodman

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