The Trump administration sought to play down the broader significance of a new plan to impose tariffs on $11.2 billion in imports from the European Union, saying the move is part of a distinct dispute over aviation subsidies rather than an effort to apply pressure in fraught negotiations toward a possible EU trade deal.
The effort to ease tensions Tuesday comes after the U.S. trade representative’s office said late Monday in a statement that it would begin a process that could end in tariffs on EU products, part of retaliation that could be allowed under a dispute at the World Trade Organization between U.S.-based Boeing Co. and Europe’s Airbus SE .
“This dispute has been in litigation at the WTO for over 14 years and therefore is not tied to separate trade matters,” a U.S. trade official said late Tuesday morning. “The United States and the EU have always sought to compartmentalize issues in our relationship where we can and to cooperate while we strongly promote our respective interests in WTO dispute settlement or elsewhere.”
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