European Union.. Image Source: IANS News

Brussels, Oct 27 : The European Union (EU) has been formally authorised to take countermeasures against the US, allowing the bloc to increase its duties on American exports worth up to $4 billion, according to an official statement.

In the statement, the European Commission said that the authorisation was granted by the Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Monday.

The European Commission is currently finalising the process, involving EU member states, "to be ready to use its retaliation rights in case there is no prospect of bringing the dispute to a mutually beneficial solution in a near future", the statement added.

Executive Vice-President for an Economy that Works for People and Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, said in the statement: "Today's formal approval by the Dispute Settlement Body of the WTO confirms the EU's right to impose countermeasures for illegal subsidies to the American aircraft maker, Boeing.

"The European Commission is preparing the countermeasures, in close consultation with our member states.

"As I have made clear all along, our preferred outcome is a negotiated settlement with the US. To that end, we continue to engage intensively with our American counterparts, and I am in regular contact with US Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer.

"In the absence of a negotiated outcome, the EU will be ready to take action in line with the WTO ruling." In October 2019 following a similar WTO decision in a parallel case on Airbus subsidies, the US started to impose retaliatory duties that affect EU exports worth $7.5 billion dollars.

The duties remained even after European governments took decisions to ensure full compliance with WTO rules and removed the grounds for the US to maintain the tariffs this July.

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