October 2, 2019 / 6:10 PM / 12 days ago

U.S. set to quickly widen trade war with EU tariffs after WTO ruling - sources

FILE PHOTO: U.S. and European Union flags are pictured during the visit of Vice President Mike Pence to the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium February 20, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States’ top trade body is likely to release a list of European goods subject to new tariffs Wednesday afternoon, after the World Trade Organization’s landmark ruling on illegal aircraft subsidies, industry sources said.

Three industry sources briefed on the United States Trade Representative’s plans said they expected the agency to release a list of European products that would be taxed at 4 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT). The USTR submitted a request Wednesday to the WTO to convene a fast-track meeting of its dispute settlement body to adopt these tariffs, two U.S.-based trade sources said.

Wednesday’s request means the WTO body could meet as soon as Oct. 14.

The USTR and WTO did not respond to requests for comment.

The United States won approval Wednesday to tax $7.5 billion (6.1 billion pounds) in European goods over illegal EU subsidies for aircraft maker Airbus (AIR.PA). The EU is expected to respond with taxes of its own on U.S. products, after the global trade body found U.S. aircraft maker Boeing Co (BA.N) also received illegal subsidies.

Lobbying groups, trade organizations and congressional staff in Washington were scrambling Wednesday to prepare for any U.S. tariff announcement, which ultimately could involve billions of dollars in European import, and make planes, speciality foods, and luxury goods more expensive.

In April, the USTR put out a provisional list of EU goods worth $21 billion that it could target, including cheese, olive oil and aircraft. The USTR said in July another $4 billion in European products could be taxed as much as 100%.

Airlines expect the USTR will put tariffs as high as 15% on Airbus orders.

Reporting by David Shepardson, Phil Blenkinsop, Andrea Shalal, and David Lawder; Additional reporting by Tim Hepher in London; Writing by Heather Timmons; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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