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July 2020


USA threatens Europe with retaliatory customs duties impacting the robotics industry



As you may be aware, the US is threatening to put new tariffs on goods manufactured in the EU in the latest twist in a long-running row over EU subsidies granted to Airbus.

In June of this year, the US said it was considering imposing new retaliatory customs duties on additional EU trade worth $3.1bn annually. This move also targets the robotics industry along with a list of other EU products.  The list of products as well as tariff rates is currently under review by the US Trade Representative.

According to VDMA, the list of products potentially affected by retaliatory customs duties explicitly includes robots for material handling and driverless transport systems, and covers:

  • Electrically driven industrial trucks without counterweight
  • Electrically driven driverless transport systems
  • Self-propelled and electrically driven mobile elevating work platforms
  • Intralogistics systems: storage and retrieval machines shuttle systems, power-driven movable pallet and shelf racks, carousels, storage lifts (provided that the storage locations are static and are operated by a driven operating unit)
  • Robots for material handling.


Adjustment of US retaliatory tariffs can take place from August 2020 - the list is restructured every 6 months but that does not mean that products will be removed after 6 months.

More information can be found HERE.

EUnited will closely monitor the situation and update you accordingly.

We would urge our members to follow the discussions and check internally which customs tariff numbers your company uses for your exports to the US in order to know how you will be affected if these retaliatory tariffs come into effect. (Please note the differences between the US and EU customs number nomenclature. The HTS customs number applies.)

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