An urgent call for a “cease-fire” in the on-going trade spat between the European Union and the United States over aircraft subsidies was given by the head of European plane maker Airbus on Saturday.
The company said that the damage to the economies of both the trading partners by the Covid-19 pandemic had already aggravated by the tit-for-tat tariffs on planes and other goods as imposed by both eth EU and the US.
Since 2019, import duties of 15% on Airbus jets had been progressively implemented by the US following a prolonged dispute at the World Trade Organization. And a year later, a matching tariff on jets from Boeing was imposed by the EU as a response. Tariffs were also imposed on wine, whisky and other goods.
“This dispute, which is now an old dispute, has put us in a lose-lose situation,” Airbus Chief Executive Guillaume Faury said in a radio interview. “We have ended up in a situation where wisdom would normally dictate that we have a cease-fire and resolve this conflict,” he told France Inter.
No comment on the issue was available.
The complaint by Brazil again Ottawa over separate battles with Canada over subsidies for smaller regional jets was dropped by the country on Thursday and Brazil also called for a global peace deal between producing nations on support for aerospace.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the dispute with Boeing was particularly damaging, Faury said, and added that the pandemic had hit air travel severely because of restrictions on travelling and closure of international borders.
Prticular concern about widening bans within Europe was expressed by him.
“We are extremely frustrated by the barriers that restrict personal movement and it is almost impossible today to travel in Europe by plane, even domestically,” he said.
“The priority no. 1 for countries in general is to reopen frontiers and allow people to travel on the basis of tests and then eventually vaccinations.”
These comments were made at a time when there is increasing pressure on government by businesses to further open up economies with the roll out of Covid-19 vaccines being carried on across Europe.
The border restrictions that were imposed recently by France have been defended by the country’s administration and said that these restrictions will help the government to avoid fresh lockdowns in the country. France has said that that the new border restrictions will remain in force until at least the end of February.
Border restrictions with the Czech Republic and Austria were also imposed last Sunday by Germany which drew protest from Austria and concerns about supply-chain disruptions. Germany has described the move a temporary measure of last resort.
And on Saturday, the prospect of imposing restrictions at the country’s borders with Slovakia and the Czech Republic because of the increasing cases of Covid-19 was not ruled out by Poland on Saturday.
(Adapted from VOANews.com)