Paris (AFP)

The agreement announced Friday between the United States and the European Union in the old Airbus-Boeing dispute, which suspends for four months the customs surcharges penalizing in particular French winegrowers, is a "first step in the process of de-escalation" of trade, greeted the French Minister for Foreign Trade Franck Riester.

"We will now work, with the Commission and our European partners, to reach an agreement within the next four months on new rules governing public support for the aviation sector, which is in line with our interests and without naivety," added the minister in a press release.

"Finally, we are coming out of the trade war between the United States and Europe, which only makes losers," said the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire for his part.

"I am delighted for our French winegrowers", he added, while the latter have borne the brunt of a conflict which did not concern them.

The 25% tax imposed in October 2019 by the United States, the leading market for French wines, cost the industry 500 million euros in 2020. A tax then extended to cognac and armagnac by Donald Trump in January 2021, just before leaving the White House.

This truce "will bring relief (...) to exporters who, for 18 months, have suffered these unjust taxes resulting from a conflict which is foreign to them", reacted the French Federation of Exporters of Wines and Spirits of France (FEVS ) in a press release.

She called, however, to take advantage of "these four months to find a final solution to this interminable conflict over aeronautics and thus secure our companies on the American market".

Same satisfaction on the side of the National Interprofessional Cognac Office, which said it expected "a lot of these four months".

"We have the feeling that our fears have been taken into account and we hope that everything will be done to get out of this absurd situation," responded Raphaël Delpech, its director general, to AFP.

"This suspension, which we have been asking for for months, was expected (...) Within four months, the file must be settled on the merits and the wine industry no longer held hostage to a conflict that is not his, ”commented Jérôme Despey, general secretary of the majority agricultural union FNSEA.

He recalled the industry's request to see the European Union "repair the damage that the wines and spirits sector has suffered for a little over a year", through a compensation fund.

"During this period, France lost market share to the benefit of Italians and other extra-community countries, because the 25% of additional customs duties took us out of the market", underlined Mr. Despey, also president. the specialist viticulture council of France AgriMer, a semi-public body responsible for agricultural markets.

Airbus and its American competitor Boeing, and through them the European Union and the United States, have been clashing since October 2004 before the WTO over public aid paid to the two groups.

© 2021 AFP