Donald Trump celebrates £6.5BN ’victory against EU’ who have treated US 'very badly'

The World Trade Organization gave Washington a green light to impose tariffs on $7.5 billion worth of EU goods annually as punishment for illegal aircraft subsidies. Mr Trump tweeted: “The US won a $7.5billion award from the World Trade Organisation against the European Union, who has for many years treated the USA very badly on trade due to tariffs, trade barriers, and more. This case going on for years, a nice victory!”

The US was hoping to impose tariffs of around £9 billion in goods.

The WTO reduced this figure by around a third, but it was still the largest penalty in the organisation’s history.

US trade officials said levies would be set at a 10 percent rate for aircraft and 25 percent on agricultural and other items.

Aircraft, Irish and Scotch Whiskies, cheeses and olives are all listed on the extensive register of goods, imported mainly from France, Germany, Spain and the UK.

The sanctions may begin from October 18, as part of a 15-year row between the US and EU over illegal subsidies for plane makers Airbus and Boeing.

US trade chief Robert Lighthizer said in a statement: “For years, Europe has been providing massive subsidies to Airbus that have seriously injured the US aerospace industry and our works.

“We expect to enter into negotiations with the European Union aimed at resolving this issue in a way will benefit American workers.”

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned against a trade war emerging from the tariffs.

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“Our continents have been through tick and thin together, through different political cycles,” Mr Juncker told an audience of business leaders.

“The American-European friendship is not about hopes and dreams. It is a necessity.”

Meanwhile, France earlier urged the EU to respond “firmly” against the US if the tariffs come into force.

Bruno Le Maire, France’s finance minister, said: “A friendly resolution to the Boeing/Airbus dispute is the best solution, and all the more so given that Europe could impose sanctions on the US next year.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “A decision has been made based on international law through which Airbus will be affected unfortunately and we will see how the American will react.”

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto added: “I wanted to take up with the President the importance of transatlantic cooperation.

“Well, we all know Europe needs the USA. But, I say that the USA needs also Europe.

“We know the price of everything. We should recognise also the value of everything. We share the same values: democracy, human rights, rule-based order. And in that, we are very similar.”