April 10 (UPI) -- The European Union bristled this week at the United States's threat to slap tariffs on a slew of EU goods in retaliation for subsidies given to Airbus, saying it would respond in kind.
The trade spat flared Monday after the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said the World Trade Organization has repeatedly found the subsidies have adversely affected the United States, and it had identified 16 pages of EU goods it was planning to tax in retaliation.
"The World Trade Organization finds that the European Union subsidies to Airbus has adversely impacted the United States, which will now put tariffs on $11 billion on EU products!" President Donald Trump said Tuesday in a tweet. "The EU has taken advantage of the United States on trade for many years. It will soon stop!"
The World Trade Organization finds that the European Union subsidies to Airbus has adversely impacted the United States, which will now put Tariffs on $11 Billion of EU products! The EU has taken advantage of the U.S. on trade for many years. It will soon stop!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 9, 2019
A European Commission spokesman said Tuesday it questions the $11-billion in countermeasures.
"The EU is confident that the level of countermeasures on which the notice is based is greatly exaggerated," the spokesman said. "The amount of WTO authorized retaliation can only be determined by the WTO appointed arbitrator," CNBC reported.
The spokesman added that it is prepared to retaliate as well, considering the EU is still waiting for the WTO to say what "retaliation rights" it has after Boeing was found in 2012 to have received billions of dollars in illegal subsidies.
"The determination of EU retaliation rights is also coming closer and the EU will request the WTO-appointed arbitrator to determine the EU's retaliation rights," the spokesman said.
The commission said it is open to discussions with the United States on the matter, CNN reported.
The trade relationship is worth some $1 trillion a year with the EU exporting significantly more goods to the United States than the United States exports to the EU.