EU fights WTO ruling on Airbus subsidies

The European Commission on Thursday appealed a decision by the World Trade Organization that found the EU guilty of providing illegal subsidies to Airbus after investigations called for by the European plane maker’s US rival, Boeing.

“The EU in particular disagrees with the legal conclusion that – even though most of the subsidies challenged by the US have ended – the bloc has not fully complied with the previous ruling,” the Commission said in a statement.

The WTO appeals panel said on September 22 that the EU had not taken steps it had ordered in 2011 to withdraw several support and subsidy programs for Airbus. Boeing had said those subsidies amounted to $22 billion (20 billion euros) worth of illegal support, coming mostly in the form of subsidized loans.

No quick fix?

The EU’s appeal came a day before top US trade officials were to visit the WTO to defend Boeing against what the company called unfair competition from its European rival.

“We will not tolerate our trading partners ignoring the rules at the expense of American workers and their families,” US Trade Representative Michael Froman commented.

Boeing had claimed that as a result of the WTO’s September ruling, the US could now levy retaliatory duties against the EU of up to $10 billion a year.

hg/sgb (Reuters, AFP)

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