Time can heal all wounds, but not erase the scars – Jane Hyatt Yolen, American writer.

Apr 14 – The National Association of Beverage Importers (NABI) welcomes EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis’ proposal to suspend reciprocal tariffs for six months. This was reported by Der Spiegel[1] on 10. April 2021, in line with its earlier speech to the Foreign Trade Council on 25. April 2021. on the suspension of all reciprocal rights, including Airbus/Boeing rights[2].

Even in the steel dispute there is movement, at least on the EU side. We have proposed the suspension of all reciprocal tariffs for six months in order to find an amicable solution, European Commissioner Dombrowski said. This will give industry and workers on both sides of the Atlantic the breathing space they need.

Time is of the essence in trade negotiations, both for the trade authorities and for the economic sectors affected by trade sanctions, said NABI President Robert M. Tobiassen, adding that the length of the current suspension period in the Airbus-Boeing trade dispute requires more attention without disrupting negotiations, as recently suggested by the EU Trade Commissioner regarding steel and aluminum tariffs.

In March, the US and EU suspended Airbus/Boeing tariffs by four months, to 11. July 2021, while the US and UK will extend Airbus tariffs until July 4, 2021. July 2021.  Neither party has publicly clarified the definition of four months rather than six months, with the latter being more likely.  Four months continues to put pressure on the US and the EU, as well as the US and the UK, to reach a successful negotiated settlement.  But for importers of wine and spirits, six months is commercially essential, Tobiassen said.

The exceptionally short period of four months does not reflect the importers’ real need for negotiating time, Tobiassen said.  Container ships and post-entry cargo are experiencing unprecedented delays due to port congestion or traffic jams on the east and west coasts, meaning importers have no certainty of when their goods will actually be unloaded and cleared through customs, Tobiassen said. He pointed out that wine importers from France and Germany would benefit from the expansion of Airbus tariffs, introduced on 12. January 2021, only to be affected because ships were anchored for days and weeks in waters outside the ports of entry and could not unload and clear customs before the expanded tariffs took effect.  One importer told me that this delay due to congestion at the West Coast ports cost his company $300,000.  Others have told me that they have also been affected financially.

Under US trade law, a final decision on trade sanctions in the Section 301 digital services tax investigations in Austria, Italy, Spain and the UK (as well as India and Turkey) is due in early June.  The automatic doubling of EU tariffs on US whiskey and bourbon will take effect in early June, if not suspended.  If the current four-month suspension of Airbus/Boeing fares remains in place, a further suspension in June will have to be considered.

June is already a crucial month for many trade issues, and a six-month suspension will allow us to get through this busy month, Tobiassen said.  Moreover, the six-month suspension is more in line with the timing of the next tariff review for Airbus, which is entirely appropriate, he added.

For more information, contact NABI at (202) 393-6224 or [email protected].


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