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EU, US on verge of announcing truce in 17-year conflict over aircraft subsidies

The two sides have been battling since 2004 in parallel cases at the World Trade Organization over subsidies for US planemaker Boeing and European rival Airbus

Brussels and Washington have said they would seek to address excess global capacity largely centred in China Brussels and Washington have said they would seek to address excess global capacity largely centred in China

The European Union and the United States were on the verge of announcing a truce on Tuesday in their 17-year conflict over aircraft subsidies, bringing to a close one set of Trump-era tariffs which had soured relations between them.

The two sides have been battling since 2004 in parallel cases at the World Trade Organization over subsidies for US planemaker Boeing and European rival Airbus.

They agreed in March to a four-month suspension of tariffs on $11.5 billion of goods from EU wine to US tobacco and spirits, which they had imposed in response to the row. On Tuesday they were set to remove them for five years, while still working on an overall deal on what subsidies to allow.

"I am very positive that we will find an agreement on the Airbus-Boeing issue today in conversation with our American friends," European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen told a news conference on Tuesday.

The agreement, to be announced during an EU-US summit with U.S. President Joe Biden, should allow them to focus on the threat posed by China's nascent commercial aircraft industry.

It will also remove one of two major trade irritants left over from Donald Trump's presidency, the other being tariffs imposed on grounds of national security on EU steel and aluminium imports.

The European Commission, which oversees EU trade policy, last month suspended for up to six months a threatened June 1 doubling of retaliatory tariffs on Harley-Davidson motorbikes, US whiskey and motorboats, and refrained from slapping tariffs on more US products from lipstick to sports shoes.

Brussels and Washington have said they would seek to address excess global capacity largely centred in China.

The United States may find it tougher to remove the metals tariffs, which also apply to other countries such as China, because they are still backed by many US metal producers and workers.

Brussels is also pushing what is dubs a new "positive agenda" on trade with Washington, including forging an alliance to drive WTO reform.

The two are also likely to agree to cooperate on trade and technology, such as for setting compatible standards and facilitating trade in artificial intelligence.

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