Skip to main content

Sweaters, Wool Suits and More EU Goods Will See New Tariffs in Two Weeks

The United States has outlined a list of European goods that will face new tariffs—as soon as mid-October.

After the World Trade Organization ruling Wednesday acknowledging that subsidies paid by certain EU member states to French aircraft maker Airbus harmed the U.S. industry, the U.S. is moving forward with $7.5 billion in tariffs on imports from the region.

In a statement late Wednesday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said, “The United States will begin applying WTO-approved tariffs on certain EU goods beginning October 18. We expect to enter into negotiations with the European Union aimed at resolving this issue in a way that will benefit American workers.”

For now, though, the apparel industry will take another hit.

“The tariffs will be applied to a range of imports from EU Member States, with the bulk of the tariffs being applied to imports from France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom—the four countries responsible for the illegal subsidies,” the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) said. “Although USTR has the authority to apply a 100 percent tariff on affected products, at this time the tariff increases will be limited to 10 percent on large civil aircraft and 25 percent on agricultural and other products.”

Those “other” products on the list include U.K. originating sweaters, pullovers and sweatshirts in wool, cashmere, cotton and man-made fibers, performance outerwear, wool suits, women’s and girl’s cotton nightwear, swimwear, and cotton bed linen and blankets—all of which will face new, additional 25 percent tariffs on Oct. 18.

President Trump, perhaps focused on more pressing matters, has said little on the subject other than a tweet this morning that called the ruling “a nice victory” for the U.S.

The U.S. has requested a meeting with the WTO for Oct. 14, at which time the WTO is expected to authorize the countermeasures in time for them to take effect a few days following.

While the tariffs won’t yet provoke a trade war because, as the USTR noted, “The EU is not allowed to retaliate against WTO-authorized countermeasures,” a full-fledged dispute could bubble up in about eight months’ time when the WTO is set to rule on a similar, separate case the EU filed against the U.S. for subsidies to Boeing.

Already, European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström has said if the U.S. tariffs take effect, the EU will be prepped and ready for its countermeasures.