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Wine Industry Benefits From Resolution Of The Airbus, Boeing Trade Dispute


European leaders are hailing the end of the World Trade Organisation dispute between plane makers Airbus and Boeing. The agreement is one of the concrete changes ushered in by the new era of trans-Atlantic cooperation, and its impact will be felt far beyond those two industrial giants, from the farm to the vineyard. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley tells us more.

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY, BYLINE: There's a lot of talk in Europe about America being back after four years of contentious relations with former President Donald Trump. It's not just a feeling. President Biden's visit produced results. Speaking after the U.S.-EU summit Tuesday, a beaming European Commission head, Ursula von der Leyen, extolled the excellent meeting between allies and friends.


URSULA VON DER LEYEN: And this meeting started with a breakthrough on aircraft. The agreement we have found now really opens a new chapter in our relationship because we move from litigation to cooperation on aircraft, and that after almost 20 years of disputes.

BEARDSLEY: Since 2004, Airbus and Boeing have accused each other of receiving unfair government subsidies or tax breaks. Both sides have woken up to see the real threat, says Karl Moore, a professor of management at Canada's McGill University.

KARL MOORE: By focusing on each other excessively, Boeing and Airbus have lost sight of the Chinese competitor.

BEARDSLEY: That's China's government-owned aircraft manufacturer COMAC.

MOORE: Which is building a new plane called the C919, which will compete with Airbus' A320 and Boeing's 737 MAX. And that's something where both the U.S. and Europe recognize they need these companies to focus on winning in the marketplace.

BEARDSLEY: The long-running trans-Atlantic aviation industry dispute became personal for Europeans after Trump slapped $7.5 billion of tariffs on popular national exports like wine, whiskey and cheese. Winemaker Michael Baum, owner of the 300-year-old Chateau de Pommard in Burgundy, says those 25% tariffs were withering.

MICHAEL BAUM: It's hit a lot of people hard because we sell about 60% of our wine to clients in the United States. The tariffs and the pandemic, it's been a really, really challenging last couple of years for winemakers in Burgundy and in France overall.

BEARDSLEY: Scores of small American businesses which import French wine suffered, too. Good news for our winemakers, tweeted French President Emmanuel Macron, adding, this is what efficient cooperation looks like. Baum couldn't agree more.

BAUM: We are excited to have world leaders that are really leaders and are bringing people together, resolving disagreements.

BEARDSLEY: There's still one major disagreement from the Trump era which remains to be solved - U.S. tariffs on EU steel and aluminum. That move particularly galled European allies because the U.S. said it was a question of national security. Europe responded with tariffs on bourbon and blue jeans, among other items. But the EU is hoping for a settlement by December, when it's also hoped Americans will be celebrating the holidays with French champagne.

Eleanor Beardsley, NPR News, Paris.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE AMERICAN DOLLAR'S "GHOSTS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Eleanor Beardsley began reporting from France for NPR in 2004 as a freelance journalist, following all aspects of French society, politics, economics, culture and gastronomy. Since then, she has steadily worked her way to becoming an integral part of the NPR Europe reporting team.