Airbus CEO is pushing for ceasefire in commerce warfare and easing COVID journey bans

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury

From Tim Hepher

PARIS (Reuters) – The head of European aircraft manufacturer Airbus on Saturday called for a “ceasefire” in a transatlantic trade war over aircraft subsidies, saying tariffs on planes and other goods had exacerbated the damage caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

After a protracted dispute at the World Trade Organization, Washington gradually introduced 15% import tariffs on Airbus jets from 2019, and the EU responded a year later with corresponding tariffs on Boeing jets (NYSE :). Wine, whiskey and other goods are also affected.

“This dispute, which is now an old dispute, has put us in a situation of defeat,” said Guillaume Faury, Airbus Chief Executive, in a radio interview.

“We got into a situation where wisdom normally dictates that we have a ceasefire and resolve this conflict,” he told France Inter.

Boeing was not immediately available for comment.

Brazil, which has fought separate battles with Canada over subsidies for smaller regional jets, dropped its own complaint against Ottawa on Thursday, calling for a global peace deal between manufacturing nations in support of aerospace.

Faury said the dispute with Boeing was particularly damaging during the COVID-19 pandemic, which hit air traffic hard and resulted in travel restrictions or border closings. He expressed particular concern about the extension of the bans within Europe.

“We are extremely frustrated with the barriers restricting personal movement and it is almost impossible to travel by air in Europe today, even domestically,” he said.

“The # 1 priority for countries in general is to reopen borders and allow people to travel based on testing and eventually vaccinations.”

The comments come as companies step up pressure on governments to reopen economies as coronavirus vaccine adoption gains momentum across Europe.

France has defended recently introduced border restrictions, saying they would help the government avoid another lockdown and stay in place at least until the end of February.

Germany carried out border controls with the Czech Republic and Austria last Sunday to protest Austria and raise concerns about supply chain disruptions.

Berlin calls the move a temporary measure of last resort.

Poland said on Saturday it had not ruled out the possibility of restrictions being imposed on the country’s borders with Slovakia and the Czech Republic due to increasing COVID-19 cases.

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