The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - October 2, 2019
In this issue:

◢  Trade – WTO decision on the amount of sanctions the U.S. is authorized to impose on the EU (October 2, 2019)

◢  North Korea – Launch (October 2, 2019)

◢  Ukraine

Trade – WTO decision on the amount of sanctions the U.S. is authorized to impose on the EU (October 2, 2019)

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has just issued a ruling on the amount of punitive tariffs the United States can impose against the Europeans in the complaint brought by the U.S. in 2004 on refundable advances to Airbus by France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

The authorization to impose sanctions must now be formally adopted by the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body. The U.S. could then raise tariffs on a series of European products by $7.5 billion per year.

The EU will be entitled to do the same in several months in relation to complaints concerning U.S. subsidies to Boeing. The WTO's Appellate Body confirmed on March 28 that despite previous rulings by the WTO, the United States had not withdrawn the subsidies granted to Boeing between 1989 and 2006, amounting to $5 billion, and that it had continued to provide massive and continuous support to Boeing through export subsidies prohibited under WTO law, granting Boeing a significant commercial advantage to the detriment of Airbus.

The escalation of trade tensions with our American partner and ally is not advisable and will have significant impacts on both of our economies, international trade, and the aviation industry.

The EU would prefer an amicable settlement in this 15-year-old dispute and the development of new common rules on government support for aviation companies.

Unfortunately, the U.S. does not seem prepared to negotiate at this stage. We are therefore responding firmly and will defend European interests by imposing the retaliatory measures authorized by the WTO against the United States.

The French authorities reaffirm their commitment to compliance with WTO rules, which enable the law and the multilateral resolution of disputes to prevail in trade matters.

North Korea – Launch (October 2, 2019)

Reports of a new ballistic missile launch by North Korea today, Wednesday, October 2, into Japan's exclusive economic zone are very troubling. Such an act on the part of North Korea cannot contribute to the resumption of serious negotiations.

France reaffirms its condemnation of these repeated launches which undermine regional security and constitute violations of the UN Security Council resolutions.

France calls on North Korea to comply with the UN Security Council resolutions and to swiftly engage in a process to ensure the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of its weapons of mass destruction programs.


Do you think that yesterday's agreement on the Steinmeier formula paves the way for a Normandy format summit in the next few weeks?

The constructive atmosphere of the discussions involving Russia, Ukraine, the OSCE and the representatives of the non-government-controlled areas of Donbas within the "Contact Group," which met yesterday in Belarus, allowed significant progress to be made in the implementation of the Minsk accords. The conditions for the entry into force of the future status of the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk were specified and the withdrawal of armed forces from three pilot areas were agreed upon by the parties.

France welcomes this progress, which was facilitated by the intense negotiations conducted over the last few weeks within the so-called Normandy format between France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia. The conditions have now been met for the forthcoming meeting of heads of state and government in the Normandy format aimed at making progress toward a lasting settlement of the conflict in Ukraine.

France in the
United States
Embassy of France in Washington, D.C.
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