‘You have NO authority!’ US hits back at UK as Joe Biden charm offensive fails

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Donald Trump’s trade office warned Britain it had “no authority from the World Trade Organisation (WTO)” to impose tariffs on its own after it finally unshackles itself from the EU. The move comes after International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said tariffs would be scrapped as soon as the UK is out of the EU transition period on January 1 in a bid to help incentivise incoming US President Joe Biden.

The UK announced on Tuesday it would suspend tariffs on aircraft manufacturer Boeing Co jets and other US goods on January 1, describing the move as an attempt to de-escalate a long-running conflict over aircraft subsidies that has dragged the US and Europe into a tit-for-tat tariff war.

In a statement from United States Trade Representative, officials welcomed the move for a “negotiated solution”, but warned: “The United States does not agree, however, that the UK would have any authority to impose tariffs.

“Only the EU sued the United States at the WTO; the UK did not bring a case in its individual capacity.

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“Therefore, the UK has no authority from the WTO to participate in any such action after it is no longer part of the EU”.

The decision comes amid wider trade talks between Britain and the US and ends a united front on tariffs among Airbus’s political backers Britain, France, Germany and Spain.

Diplomats say US and EU trade chiefs are in “serious” negotiations to end the 16-year-old aircraft trade dispute.
Last year the EU placed tariffs worth £3billion on American products.

The measures were imposed after the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruled the US had unlawfully subsidised Boeing, to the detriment of the UK and EU aerospace industry.

The subsidy dispute is the largest case ever handled by the WTO and comes to a head just as Britain is leaving the EU, forcing it to seek new trade deals.

Britain is hoping to secure a free trade deal with the US as early as possible in Mr Biden’s presidency.

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However, Mr Biden opposes Brexit and has reservations about Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who he once likened to a “physical and emotional clone” of Mr Trump.

The tariff decision has now spawned a technical row between London and Brussels about whether Britain can in any case legally impose tariffs inherited from the EU after January 1 – expanding a list of jurisdictional issues arising from Britain’s EU exit.

The EU said it alone could act in the transatlantic dispute.

But Britain has insisted it could revive the tariffs if needed but said their suspension would help resolve the subsidy spat, which has spread to hit other industries.

A UK spokesman said: ”We are serious about de-escalation. This suspension of tariffs demonstrates the seriousness we place on reaching a negotiated settlement.”

Several sources said an aircraft agreement could be reached before Mr Trump leaves office next month.

A US source said: ”It is not clear how you resolve the UK part without addressing the rest of Europe.

”The entire discussion has been structured around finding a whole solution”.

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