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WTO Rules On Latest EU-US Boeing Dispute

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-news.com, Brussels

27 June 2017


Both the EU and the US have claimed victory in response to the latest WTO ruling in a long-running dispute over alleged US subsidies to Boeing.

On June 9, 2017, a WTO panel released its findings on a dispute concerning 29 US state and federal programs, which the EU alleged had unfairly subsidized Boeing and harmed Airbus's ability to sell large civil aircraft.

The WTO concluded that certain of the measures challenged by the EU "are not subsidies provided to Boeing after the end of the implementation period," and that, where other measures could be deemed subsidies, the EU had failed to establish that any of these subsidies "is contingent in fact upon export performance or upon the use of domestic over imported goods."

However, the WTO also concluded that, in the case of one state-level program previously ruled upon, the US had failed to comply with its obligation to take appropriate steps to remove the adverse effects of or withdraw the subsidy.

Commenting on the findings, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said: "[The] ruling is another victory for the EU, its industry, and EU workers in this strategic sector. The panel agrees that the US has simply ignored existing WTO rulings and has continued to subsidize Boeing. We will continue to firmly defend our industry to ensure we have a level-playing field."

However, the Office of the US Trade Representative said that it disagrees with the WTO's decision on this particular program, which had an average value of USD100-110m in the 2013-15 period, and intends to appeal the ruling. It added that the panel had found that 28 of the 29 contested programs were consistent with WTO rules.

US Trade Representative Robert Lightizer said: "For years, European governments have tried to justify their massive subsidization of Airbus by falsely claiming a need to offset US subsidies to Boeing. The WTO report confirms what we have always said: the United States does not provide subsidies even remotely comparable to the uniquely large and uniquely harmful EU subsidies to Airbus."

"It is time for the EU to stop making excuses and instead to join us in negotiating a settlement to remove all WTO-inconsistent subsidies so that our world-class aircraft manufacturers can compete on a level playing field."

TAGS: anti-dumping | World Trade Organisation (WTO) | trade disputes | United States | trade | European Union (EU) | Europe

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