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WTO Rules $22Bln EU Subsidies to Airbus Illegal, Authorizes US Retaliation
16 May 2018, 05:27 | Hattie Nash
It is the latest in a string of tussles between EuropeÃ¢ÂÂs Airbus and US rival Boeing
The World Trade Organization ruled on Tuesday the European Union had ignored requests to halt all subsidies to plane maker Airbus, prompting the United States to threaten sanctions against European products unless the EU stops "harming USA interests".
Today's decision ends the dispute and clears the way for the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to seek remedies in the form of tariffs against European imports to the U.S.
In 2004, the United States lodged its original complaint with the WTO, claiming support of Airbus by France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom for the development of civilian airliners was unfair because it hurt USA -based Boeing's sales and market share.
The WTO's findings mark a stepping up of trade tensions between the USA and European Union, which are already wrangling over whether U.S. tariffs on aluminium and steel will apply to European products.
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The final decision affirmed a 2016 finding that the European Union had failed to eliminate unfair subsidies for two Airbus twin-aisle models, ending a long-running trade case.
The WTO appellate body upheld the compliance panel's finding in 2016 that Airbus paid a lower interest rate on financing for the development of its latest aircraft, the A350, than it would have obtained on the commercial market, and that this below-cost financing provided by the French, German, Spanish and United Kingdom governments provided a benefit to Airbus that constituted subsidies. The bloc compounded the issue with below-market loans for the plane-maker's marquee A350 jetliner.
The Geneva watchdog, however, had dismissed US claims that the loans for the most popular models of Airbus, the A320 and A330, were costing aignisignif sales to Boeing.
Airbus chief executive Tom Enders called the ruling a "significant legal success for the European aviation industry".
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The size of US tariffs to be allowed will be determined through a WTO arbitration process, and will be based on the annual harm to USA and Boeing - losses that the US had previously pegged as ranging from $7 billion to $10 billion a year. The stock fell 0.9 percent to 96.25 euros at the close in Paris.
"The Airbus case against Boeing is yet to come". Boeing fell less than 1 percent to $342.09 at 12:37 p.m.in NY, recovering from losses logged before the decision was issued.
"The result is simple: Airbus pays back its loans, Boeing pays back nothing and continues to exploit the generosity of the USA taxpayer", he said.
The US accused the European Union and the four countries of providing grants, preferential loans and other illegal aid to Airbus to help it to build its entire fleet of civilian aircraft, to the...
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