Boeing scores WTO win against Airbus
American plane manufacturer Boeing scored a big win against its European rival Airbus after the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruled that the European Union failed to rein in billions in subsidies that the trade body ruled previously were in violation of WTO rules. The WTO finding means the US could, if it chooses, seek billions in trade sanctions against Brussels.
US trade officials said they might seek at least US$10 billion in sanctions if the EU doesn’t abide by the ruling. The WTO originally ruled in 2011 that the subsidies to Airbus had made Boeing lose sales and market share. Boeing however, is not exactly in the clear with Airbus seeking against the American company for US government assistance to it.
“This report is a sweeping victory for the United States and its aerospace workers,” US Trade Representative Michael Froman said in a statement. “We have long maintained that EU aircraft subsidies have cost American companies tens of billions of dollars in lost revenue, which this report clearly proves.”
Airbus said in published reports it would likely appeal the WTO ruling and reaffirmed that its methods of partnering with its European backers is acceptable under international trade law.
“We only needed to make limited changes in European policies and practices to comply,” Airbus said in an e-mailed statement. “The only open point is final ruling on the interest rate benchmark for the government loans. We are confident that we will win that point on appeal.”
“Today’s historic ruling finally holds the EU and Airbus to account for their flouting of global trade rules,” said Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing chairman, president and CEO. “This long-awaited decision is a victory for fair trade worldwide and for US aerospace workers, in particular.”
The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, said in a statement despite the ruling for Boeing, “an important win for the EU is that the panel rejected new US claims that repayable support for the Airbus models A350XWB and A380 are ‘prohibited subsidies,’” the commission said.
Airbus also said Boeing “remains in denial that billions of grants for the 787 and 777 have been declared completely illegal by the WTO.”