In the EU regulation (2018/886) dated June 22, 2018, and in retaliation to the U.S. trade measures on steel and aluminum, the European Union introduced additional customs duties of 25% on pleasure vessels (operated commercially or used privately) built in the U.S. imported into the customs territory of the Union (our article on this topic).
Almost three years later, the end of these measures is still far from being decided. If the European Union’s complaint to the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body against the U.S. measures had raised hopes, these were dashed with the delay caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, and even more when the U.S. did not appoint their two judges when the members of the Appellate Body were renewed in November 2019.
Indeed, assuming that the WTO panel issues a report unfavorable to the United States, the latter may well be tempted to block its implementation by filing an appeal. However, since December 11, 2019, the seats of the Appellate Body remain vacant, and it is no longer able to examine the procedures it is notified with. The procedures remain pending, with no end date.
That leaves the diplomatic solution, which could be revived with the arrival of the new US president, Joe Biden. However, his intentions regarding the Appellate Body are still unclear. And meanwhile, U.S. pleasure vessels bear the risk of the application of these additional duties.
Our teams are at your disposal to help you understand the issue and to facilitate the importation of U.S.-built vessels into the customs territory of the Union while limiting the financial impact.