US announces 'victory' in WTO aircraft dispute
US Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced (12-Mar-2012) the US "prevailed" in a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute over claims by the EU related to US subsidies and support provided to Boeing. Mr Kirk said the WTO appellate body "rejected claims that the US has provided massive trade-distorting subsidies to Boeing" and affirmed a Mar-2011 finding that "most of the programs challenged by the EU were not subsidies". Mr Kirk also said the body "affirmed that the value of WTO-inconsistent subsidies was far below what the EU alleged". He also added the body's decision "stands in stark contrast" to a May-2011 ruling the EU gave Airbus USD18 billion in subsidised funding, which resulted in lost market share and lost sales involving 342 large civil aircraft produced in the US. The US Trade Representative stated comparable figures under the ruling were USD3-4 billion in US subsidies, and lost sales of "just slightly" more than 100 aircraft. The WTO Dispute Settlement Body is likely to adopt this report at a meeting later this month. The US will then have six months to come into compliance with the WTO rulings. [more - original PR]
Office of the US Trade Representative: “This decision is a tremendous victory for American manufacturers and workers...It is now clear that European subsidies to Airbus are far larger – by multiples – and far more distortive than anything that the US does for Boeing. The US is ready to address all of the WTO findings, and we expect Europe to do the same. Airbus is a mature, highly capable company with ready access to commercial financing. It doesn’t need the launch aid that European governments are continuing to provide. It is time for European governments to get out of the way and let Boeing and Airbus compete on even terms,” Ron Kirk, US Trade Representative. Source: Company statement, 12-Mar-2012.