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EU to push for Airbus deal to avoid US tariffs until ‘last hour’

Brussels - EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said on Monday the bloc will push until "the very last hour" to avoid new US tariffs on EU imports set to come into force in four days' time.

The search for ''a fair settlement''

In a recent letter to her US counterpart seen by dpa, Malmstrom urged the United States to negotiate a deal with the European Union rather than taking punitive measures in the long-standing dispute over illegal state subsidies for US aircraft maker Boeing and European Airbus.

Given that both Washington and Brussels have been found by the World Trade Organization (WTO) to be at fault, "it would be in our best common interest to find a fair settlement," Malmstrom wrote to US trade representative Robert Lighthizer on Friday.

"Even if they are allowed to impose tariffs, that doesn't mean that they have to," Malmstrom said in Brussels on Monday.

The US is ready to negotiate

The EU has a parallel case against Boeing making its way through the WTO arbitration process, and expects in some months to be given the right to apply tariffs. Brussels had long hoped to avoid fresh tariffs.

But in the letter, Malmstrom said the EU noted the US has indicated its readiness to negotiate.

The punitive measures on imported goods worth 7.5 billion dollars, including many food products, are set to start on Friday, Malmstrom said.

EU Trade with the United States