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EU, US close to reaching agreement to end Airbus-Boeing trade dispute

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The United States and the European Union appeared close to reaching a deal to end a damaging dispute over subsidies to rival plane makers Boeing and Airbus and lift billions of dollars in punitive tariffs.

“I’m very positive and convinced that together we will deliver today,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told reporters Tuesday, hours before a meeting in Brussels with US President Joe Biden.

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A person familiar with the discussions said that the US and EU officials have reached principles of an agreement to end their 17-year dispute over the aircraft subsidies. The person was not authorized to discuss the matter and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The trade dispute skyrocketed under the Trump administration, and saw tit-for-tat duties slapped on a range of companies that have nothing to do with aircraft production, from French winemakers to German cookie bakers in Europe and US spirits producers in the United States, among many others.

The US imposed $7.5 billion in tariffs on European exports in 2019 after the World Trade Organization ruled that the EU had not complied with its rulings on subsidies for Airbus, which is based in France. The EU retaliated last November with $4 billion in punitive duties after the WTO ruled that the US had provided illegal subsidies to Boeing.

In March, weeks after Biden had taken office, the two sides agreed to suspend the tariffs.

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