Boeing crows at WTO anti-Airbus ruling

BOEING has praised the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) ruling that declared some of the EU’s subsidies to Airbus illegal. Under the ruling, the WTO said Airbus must repay US$4 billion aid it received for launching the A380.

“This is a landmark decision and sweeping legal victory over the launch aid subsidies that fuelled the rise of Airbus and that continue to provide its products a major cost advantage,” said Boeing chief executive officer, Jim McNerney.

Boeing’s executive vice-president, J Michael Luttig, said: “The panel said that without the illegal subsidies it received, Airbus would not have the aerospace market share it now enjoys. This ruling will alter the competitive landscape in the aerospace industry forever, forcing Airbus to compete in the marketplace on the same terms as Boeing…without the assistance of European taxpayers.”

Boeing claims that funding for the A350 falls under the ruling but Airbus denies this. No doubt coincidentally, the A350, when it launches, will compete with the 787 Dreamliner and both companies are rivals for a US$50 billion contract to supply the US Air Force with new tankers.

“America thrives on competition,” said McNerney. “American workers have shown repeatedly they can compete successfully in the global market. But they understandably insist that competition occur on a level playing field, with competitors playing by the agreed-upon rules.”

Both companies are renowned for protesting against the other’s subsidies while allegedly accepting subsidies themselves. The EU protested to the WTO in 2007 over Boeing taking $23.7 billion from the US.

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