WASHINGTON – The Trump administration has said it will target more French and German wines and spirits at 25% tariffs starting January 12, in the latest escalation in a tit-for-tat tariff war related to a long-running dispute over subsidies for commercial jet airliners.
Among the new levies, the US will for the first time impose a 25% levy on wine from France and Germany in excess of the 14% alcohol it had previously exempted, according to the Office of the US Trade Representative.
“Especially with what is happening in light of the pandemic, with the closure of restaurants and refineries, this is not the right time to enter an industry that is already facing economic impact,” Christine LoCascio, head of public policy for the US Council’s Distilled Spirits, said Thursday.
Washington imposed a 25% tariff on wines from France, Spain, Germany and the UK in October 2019 in retaliation for subsidies they made to European aircraft manufacturers.
Other items that will be subject to the new tariffs are premium cognacs priced at $ 38 per liter and up, and some aircraft-building parts, both from France and Germany. High alcoholic wines from Spain and England are not added to the latest list.
USTR said in its regulatory filing that the additional tariffs targeted products from France and Germany because the two countries had provided the largest levels of subsidies that were incompatible with WTO rules.
The US and EU have long been at odds over what each claims are unfair government subsidies to commercial aircraft manufacturers: Airbus in Europe and Boeing in the US
A battle has recently occurred over tit-for-tat tariffs on consumer products.
“These tariffs are destroying US restaurants and small businesses at the worst of times.” “
USTR said Wednesday in a press release that the latest additions to its tariff list came as the US made adjustments after the two sides used different reference periods for trade data to determine which products the tariffs would cover.
USTR said that while the US used data for the previous calendar year, the EU was using a period in which trade was drastically reduced due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
That allows Europe to impose tariffs on “substantially more product” than it could do under the calendar year method, the USTR said. After the EU refused to change its approach, USTR said it decided to change its own reference period and add more products. The additions will not change the total value of the $ 7.5 billion worth of products subject to tariffs, USTR said.
An EU spokesman said the choice of reference period for EU tariff measures was based on the latest available trade data in line with long-standing WTO practices. The spokesman said Washington was “unilaterally disrupting” ongoing bilateral negotiations to find a resolution to the plane dispute.
“The European Union will engage with the new US administration as soon as possible to continue these negotiations and find a lasting solution to the dispute,” he said.
The escalation in the tariff fight highlights challenges in trade relations between the US and the EU, even as European officials call for improving ties under the upcoming administration. The digital tax imposed on US technology companies by France has been a significant cause of tension. European Union signing of an investment agreement with China This week has attracted attention among US trade officials as they seek European cooperation against China.
The tariff impact is very significant. Wine imports from France fell 54% in the first five months of 2020 from a year earlier, while those from Germany fell 42%, according to the US Wine Trade Alliance.
“These tariffs are destroying US restaurants and small businesses at the worst of times,” Ben Aneff, group president. “This underscores how important it is for President-elect Biden to immediately lift restaurant tariffs, and find ways to more effectively influence the EU while reducing damage to businesses at home.”
The UK aerospace industry risks slipping one more place in the world rankings after the coronavirus caused a fall in demand for airlines leading to widespread layoffs.
Data from the trade body ADS show that in 2019 the sector employed 114,000 people, the global equivalent of Germany.
The US remains by far the largest aerospace player in the world – a position it has held since World War Two – with 700,000 direct employees, followed by France with 200,000.
However, the pandemic has resulted in at least 15,000 job losses this year according to the ADS, meaning that when final figures for 2020 are produced at the start of the New Year, Britain risks falling behind Germany.
In June, the French government detailed € 15 billion in support for its aviation and aerospace industry, including assistance to Air France, Toulouse-based Airbus and other companies, which was arranged through direct investments, subsidies, loans and financial guarantees. This also includes advancing state spending and funding to promote green planes.
COLOGNE, Germany – NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says he supports the use of armed drones to protect soldiers’ lives, wading through a heated debate in Germany about purchasing such technology for future operations.
Stoltenberg told the German press office of the DPA that the alliance would use unmanned aircraft armed in accordance with international law and to support deployed forces. “These drones can support troops on the ground and reduce the number of pilots we send in a dangerous way,” he was quoted as saying.
His comments came because the question of arming drones had caused a huge commotion between the CDU and SPD parties, which form Germany’s coalition government. In particular, the disagreement is over whether the Bundeswehr should be allowed to lease Israeli-made Heron TP drones armed with missiles. More broadly, however, the debate is about different visions of Germany as a participant in Western military structures.
Earlier this month, the SPD leadership decided to reject the acquisition of armed drones in principle, arguing that the broad debate here about the ethical aspects of their use had not yet occurred, as stipulated in the government coalition agreement.
The party’s surprise move comes after defense department officials formally studied the matter for much of the year as part of a public campaign, holding hearings with experts from a variety of backgrounds and sending final reports to lawmakers.
The SPD parliamentary spokesman for defense issues, Fritz Felgentreu, who supports the use of armed drones in limited conditions, resigned from his job in protest, arguing the party leadership’s claims about a lackluster drone debate were dishonest.
Following Stoltenberg’s statement to the DPA on Wednesday, Felgentreu joked on Twitter that the secretary general would make a “smart Social Democrat”, a reference to his own party.
Stoltenberg’s stance is unlikely to sway any opinion here, as those who reject armed drones for the Bundeswehr are unlikely to support NATO supporters from starting.
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It remains to be seen how the seven-year German drone debate further develops before it reaches the relevant decision-making stage for Franco-German. Eurodrone. One of the roles of the drone apart from spying and surveillance is firing weapons in combat under certain conditions. Likewise with Future Combat Air Systems, a Franco-German-Spanish project, is slated to include a series of so-called “long-distance operators”, some of which will have a kinetic effect.
The US administration’s counterterrorism drone wars since the Bush administration, often fought somewhere in the gray zone between military and paramilitary operations, still overshadow the collective conscience of Germany’s anti-war left.
Supporters of drones for the Bundeswehr accuse SPD skeptics of distrusting the government, and their own parliament, in using those weapons more responsibly.
Airbus Defense and Space CEO Dirk Hoke, whose company manages the Heron TP lease and co-leads the Eurodrone and FCAS programs, told reporters earlier this month that he is relying on a “shift” in German public opinion to support the idea of an armed drone in the end. “Our population realizes that we are seeing higher volatility, more crises, and that Europe’s largest economy cannot escape the accountability and responsibility that comes with that role,” he said.
KARACHI: The new PIA airbus PK8303 footage which crashed on 22 May 2020 in Karachi has established that the aircraft landed on the runway at least four times in the first attempt but the landing gear did not open, causing the fuselage especially the engines to suffer severe damage from scratching the runway.
Exclusive footage run by Geo News reporter Tariq Abul Hassan establishes what the CAA and national airlines previously denied, that the landing gear was not opened during the attempted landing. The footage raises more questions about the role of air traffic controllers and of course cockpit crew as pilots in the tragedy.
Video captured by the CAA runway 69 video camera determined that within three seconds the PIA airbus skidded on the runway four times, before finally taking off again. Based on new footage, the aircraft successfully landed on the runway four times at 2:33:34, 2: 33:35, 2:33:38 and the fourth time at 2:33:40. The abrasive contact with the ground and the engine that triggers frictional sparks can also be seen in the new video. The landing gearless trial also proved that on approaching from the Model Colony, the airbus crashed on the 69 landing lane far ahead of the scheduled meeting point, almost in the middle after the ATC and VIP Terminals, leaving little. runway ahead to achieve a safe landing, except that there is a large “Katcha” path from loose ground ahead. According to the preliminary CAA report, “the landing gear was opened when the aircraft was 10 NM from the airport. But because the airplane is flying at a higher altitude than required for optimal landing, the wheels are pulled to allow the plane to descend at a very high speed and finally when the plane lands, the wheels do not open. “
According to aviation experts, “under systemic and automatic safety mechanisms if the plane is traveling at 250-260 mph, the landing gear does not open. “Overspeed was thought to be the reason the wheels did not drop on landing and as a result the engine scratched hard on the runway, a visible sign of the runway. This is understood to have damaged the engine, the engine oil compartment and the fuel pipe both of which not only leaked, but dangerous engine oil mixed with fuel. “Together the three are believed to have slowed the plane from ascending altitude to turning back to the runway. It follows Mayday’s pilots and communications that both engines have failed, ”the experts agreed.
While the CAA and PIA are still working to finalize and conclude the report, disturbing questions plague the thought that if such a terrible tragedy could be avoided. The basic question is why did the plane get at a higher altitude during its approach to the runway? “Why doesn’t the pilot know that the landing gear doesn’t open when descending? Did the pilot and the co-pilot choose to ignore the cockpit alarm warning about the landing gear status? Did the alarm actually work? When the plane has landed despite many obstacles and engine failure. with the runway and sparks flying out, why would air traffic controllers let the plane take off and direct the pilot to try another approach Was the pilot notified of a touch down abrasive by air traffic controllers ?, seen in the footage of the CAA runway. , why the pilot agency PALPA was not part of the investigation As pilots they could explain the entire episode about aircraft airworthiness and cockpit conditions to guide the investigation Honest answers to these questions alone will determine whether the loss of life and country’s reputation can be prevented and just another disaster can be avoided.
Next summer, the Swiss government will select one of four competitors to replace its aging fleet of F-5 Tigers and F / A-18 Hornets by 2030: Airbus’ Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault’s Rafale, Boeing’s F / A-18 Super Hornet, and Lockheed Martin LMT F-35A. The F-35 is the only 5th generation option but given the needs of a small Alpine country, this is arguably odd.
Surrounded by five European countries, Switzerland has a total land border of 1,151 miles. At a cruise speed (about 470 knots), an F-35A can fly north to south across the country in about 15 minutes and from west to east in about 24 minutes. Swiss Air Force F / A-18s routinely do so, fulfilling their air defense / air police mission.
The country’s longstanding commitment to neutrality means its air force is really just air defense. What it needed most were interceptors. Ironically, the F / A-18C is a multi-role aircraft as everyone in the quartet is vying to replace it, no more than the F-35. The irony lies alongside a divided population over acquiring new fighters.
In 2014, the Swiss public voted against the purchase of the Saab JAS-39 Gripens to replace the Hornets. The results were different last September. But it’s nail biting 50.1% of the roughly three million who voted “yes,” less than 9,000 more than those who voted “no,” to a size that culls $ 6.5 billion to buy 36 to 40 new aircraft.
Despite the green light, opponents have voted for the F-35 with Swiss Social Democratic MP Roger Nordmann. notify Swiss public television that “it is impossible to buy the American F-35, which is the most expensive”.
Given the situation and competition, what is Lockheed’s promotion to Switzerland?
In a Great Position
Perhaps surprisingly, cost is one of the competitive advantages that the Lockheed F-35 Swiss campaign manager, Jim Robinson, praised first.
“We are in a great position … We will come at or below the cost of 4th generation competitors so I think that makes us very competitive,” said Robinson.
He stressed that Lockheed’s proposal includes 40 aircraft (not 36 reported) at significant industrial offsets, priced in the $ 6.5 billion budget. He added that unlike its competitors, the F-35 will not require Switzerland to purchase additional accessories such as launch rails, targeting pods or special weapons interfaces, all of which are integrated into the F-35A.
“The plane was ready on the first day. You don’t need additional mission equipment to add to the aircraft’s capabilities, ”said Robinson.
Lightning II is also headed in the right direction in terms of volume, support and cost per flight hour (CPFH), Lockheed’s campaign manager confirmed.
Currently, 13 countries operate more than 585 F-35s from 26 bases around the world. A growing number in Europe and the F-35 Final Assembly and Checkout Facility (FACO) near Cameri, Italy, provide synergy with potential Swiss maintenance / support operations.
The F-35 CPFH has become a topic among the program’s partner countries as well as Switzerland which recognizes it at $ 35,000 per hour, is almost twice as expensive as European and American competitors. Robinson denied that Lockheed was “on track” to lower CPFH to $ 25,000 by 2025, two years before Swiss deliveries will begin.
The cost of flying hours is notoriously difficult to compute and compare but Robinson adds that a growing international fleet larger than the Eurofighter or Rafale will further lower the average.
Despite this, there are still doubts among the Swiss that the purchase of the F-35 will stay within budget. Given the F-35’s specific ground infrastructure requirements (hangar, ALIS support system, secure mission planning), additional costs were logically expected. Critics insist that this and others will push the bill for the F-35 $ 27 billion (CHF 24 billion).
Choices that are excessive or obvious
The F-35’s reputation is built on its ability to penetrate sophisticated air defense environments, attack, and provide networked information to other aircraft, land and sea platforms. As noted, the Swiss Air Force is not expected to do any of these things. Stealth and grid jets could be considered redundant for air surveillance missions.
Robinson stressed that Switzerland’s upgrade program, called “Air 2030,” seeks combat aircraft that can deal with four decades of evolving threats (2030-2070). The F-35, he said, is the “best tool” for adapting to geopolitical and technological changes. He pointed out that Switzerland’s request for proposal specifically calls for the ability to reintroduce their pilots to the air-ground mission role and ISR capabilities.
What uses the possible advanced ISR capabilities for Swiss aircraft operating within or near Swiss airspace and what disruptions or transgressions of the system might collect data large enough for Switzerland’s neighbors seem to be a reasonable question.
But Robinson argues that the F-35’s sophistication makes it the only viable candidate in broader air defense.
“In the Air 2030 upgrade program, they are looking for a joint air defense network. The F-35 in its quarterbacking role can provide valuable data when they are looking to upgrade their ground-based air defense system. ”
One might also question the value of stealth. As a former USAF F-16 pilot, Robinson said he “would be very happy if offensive air did not know where I was in my air defense role.”
But he realized that scanning Switzerland for air defense aircraft taking off from known locations was not a difficult task. “I understand,” said Robinson. “Some people don’t see stealth as a huge advantage. That may be true for the Swiss Air Force but it is an advantage. “
Mark Gunzinger, senior analyst at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies for the Air Force Association, said the F-35A’s stealth was “a threshold requirement for air forces concerned about trends in enemy counter-attack capability.”
Its air combat management capabilities have future utility too, Gunzinger insists. This could include acting as a battle manager for the drone team. He added that the F-35’s air defense capabilities meet or exceed other candidates.
“This is supported by the many reports that have been published on its performance during the Red Flag and other exercises as a counterweight and combat management aircraft. In essence, the 4th gen-plus candidate lacks the level of survivability and potential to develop the mission that a true 5th generation fighter can offer that the F-35 can offer.
All Air 2030 competitors are doing industry offsets. In fact, the Swiss government requires selected providers to place orders for the value of a Swiss company 60% of the contract value.
In Lockheed’s case, the sweetener includes the opportunity to produce about 400 canopies and transparencies (canopy and glass frames) for the F-35 domestically. Switzerland will become a European hub for such work and take up unspecified engine and airframe maintenance projects for its own operations and possibly others.
The company has worked with two Swiss optical suppliers and the additional opportunity could theoretically extend to other Swiss industries such as the distressed precision watch sector. Lockheed intends to define industrial cooperation further in the new year, according to Jim Robinson.
Switzerland will have access to the F-35 Information Center of Excellence, a domestic data center that allows Swiss companies to test their cyber capabilities in a secure environment and to view the information exchanged within the F-35’s network. Lockheed also offered, for an additional fee, Swiss defense contractor RUAG the opportunity to assemble four additional F-35s itself, building on the expertise for Swiss technicians who currently maintain the country’s Hornets.
The persuasion may not be enough to overcome promises from Airbus to assemble all 40 Eurofighter Typhoons with partner companies in Switzerland. Neighboring Typhoon operators such as Germany offer training opportunities away from noise-conscious Swiss in their own country. Boeing emphasized the cost advantages and structural continuity of the Super Hornet and reported, “Working with more than 100 current and new partners across Switzerland.”
Dassault has not disclosed its Rafale prices or offsets, but historically the close ties between France and Switzerland and the daily cross-border business show France can have an edge.
From a purely practical and expedient standpoint, Switzerland’s decision to use the F-35A seems like a long one. Concerns about costs and current reluctance about American policy and arms sales factor in Swiss decision making.
However, so is the knowledge that it will take Europe 15 years at most to field its own 5th Generation fighter. Flying American equipment, as the Swiss Air Force does, brings interoperability and diplomatic benefits.
Implementing a 5th generation stealth fighter for a straight forward counterattack defense mission may seem a contradiction in terms but Switzerland has a history of independent and often bizarre choices. They can make it again.