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EU and US agree to suspend tariffs over Airbus-Boeing dispute

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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a media conference at the end of an EU summit in Brussels, Feb. 26, 2021.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a media conference at the end of an EU summit in Brussels, Feb. 26, 2021.   -   Copyright  Johanna Geron, Pool via AP
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Brussels and Washington agreed on Friday to temporarily suspend tariffs imposed as part of their long-standing dispute over Airbus and Boeing.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said that she and US President Joe Biden are "both committed on resolving our aircraft disputes, based on the work of our respective trade representatives".

The suspension of tariffs will last for an initial period of four months.

"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," von der Leyen said.

The White House said that during their phone call, Biden underscored "his support for the European Union and his commitment to repair and revitalise the US-EU partnership" and the two sides "shared values".

Both the US and the EU accuse each other of providing unfair state aid to their flagship aircraft manufacturers.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) allowed Washington to slap penalties on EU goods worth up to $7.5 billion (€6.3 billion) back in 2019. A year later, it ruled that the 27-country bloc could impose tariffs on $4 billion (€3.4 billion) worth of US goods and services.

Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said in a statement that the agreement "marks a reset in our relationship with our biggest and economically most important partner".

"This suspension will help restore confidence and trust, and therefore give us the space to come to a comprehensive and long-lasting negotiated solution," he added.

Both Brussels and Washington have stressed since Biden's arrival in the Oval Office in January that they are keen to reset their partnership, following four years of strained relations under former President Donald Trump.

Von der Leyen said that she invited Biden to attend the Global Health Summit in Rome on May 21 to "prepare the world to face future pandemics and improve health security worldwide".

She also "warmly thanked" Biden for recommitting the US to the Paris Agreement for the Climate.

The White House said they also "agreed to coordinate on issues of shared interest, including China, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and the Western Balkans."