The U.S. and the European union will suspend tariffs for four months tied to a long-running dispute over illegal subsidies for Boeing and Airbus, the president of the European Commission said Friday.
The agreement is a step toward resolving the 17-year dispute that has led to retaliatory tariffs on billions of dollars of goods affecting a range of exports from both sides of the Atlantic. It comes a day after the U.S. and U.K. also agreed to a four-month pause on tariffs tied to the dispute.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she spoke with U.S. President Joe Biden about the issue by phone on Friday.
The move would pause tariffs on $7.5 billion of goods imported from the European Union, including aircraft, cheese and wine, and duties on $4 billion worth of EU imports of U.S. airplanes, tractors, vodka and rum, and tobacco.
“We both committed to focus on resolving our aircraft disputes, based on the work of our respective trade representatives,” she said in a statement. “This is excellent news for businesses and industries on both sides of the Atlantic, and a very positive signal for our economic cooperation in the years to come.”
The White House said Biden and von der Leyen discussed trans-Atlantic cooperation to help stop the spread of Covid-19, measures to improve the economy, climate change and other issues.
Progress toward a resolution in the dispute comes as a relief to Airbus and Boeing, which are both struggling with weak travel and jetliner demand because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Airbus welcomes the decision to suspend tariffs in order to allow negotiations to take place,” the manufacturer said in a statement. “We support all necessary actions to create a level-playing field and continue to support a negotiated settlement of this long-standing dispute in order to avoid lose-lose tariffs.”