U.S. hails WTO ruling on Airbus case

08:08, July 01, 2010      

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The United States claimed " landmark victory" Wednesday in a WTO ruling over the U.S. complaint on decades of subsidies for Airbus by the European Union (EU).

According to a statement released by the U.S. Trade Representative Office (USTR), the WTO dispute settlement panel found that every instance of the launch aid provided by certain EU nations for new Airbus aircraft over the last forty years, as well as other subsides the U.S. had challenged, caused adverse effects to the interests of the U.S. and therefore are WTO-inconsistent subsidies.

The panel also concluded that certain launch aid provided for the A380 superjumbo jet was a prohibited export subsidy under WTO rules.

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said the case would "benefit American aerospace workers, who have had to endure watching Airbus receive these massive subsidies for more than 40 years."

The subsidies, Kirk said, "have greatly harmed the United States, including causing Boeing to lose sales and market share. Today's ruling helps level the competitive playing field with Airbus."

Boeing CEO Jim McNerney claimed it had won a "sweeping legal victory" following the ruling that some European state subsidies to Airbus are illegal and insisted the decision required Airbus to repay four billion dollars, a claim disputed by the France-based firm.

He said the Office of the US Trade Representative deserves " tremendous credit" for the decision.

"We now join the U.S. government in urging full compliance with the ruling and a permanent restoration of fair competition within our industry," he said.

The U.S. initiated this WTO dispute in October 2004 to end decades of launch aid and other subsides provided to Airbus. A WTO panel was established to examine the matter in May 2005.

Source: Xinhua


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