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European Union still providing illegal subsidies to Airbus

European Union still providing illegal subsidies to Airbus

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".

The European Union continued to illegally subsidize Airbus' launch of its A350 and A380 jets in defiance of a World Trade Organization ruling, the WTO's Appellate Body ruled Tuesday.

Deciding on a case first opened in 2004, the appellate body found Airbus paid a lower interest rate on financing to develop the A350XWB aircraft than it would have gotten in the open market.

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"We appreciate the tireless efforts of the U.S. Trade Representative over the 14 years of this investigation to strengthen the global aerospace industry by ending illegal subsidies".

The two archrivals have been locked in a back-and-forth trade dispute over subsidies since 2006. "The commercial success of products and services should be driven by their merits and not by market-distorting actions", said Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing chairman, president and CEO.

The decision Tuesday affirmed a ruling that European Union member states have failed to adequately remedy market-distorting aid for the launch of Airbus's A380 superjumbo, infrastructure support and equity investments that unfairly benefited the planemaker.

Airbus shares fell shortly after the WTO issued its findings and were poised to close down around 0.86 per cent. Boeing fell less than 1 percent to $342.10 at 11:43 a.m.in NY.

Bob Novick, a legal counsel for Boeing, told reporters that the subsidies led to lost sales and that the United States will be free to decide over the next several months what European products will be targeted for tariffs to apply maximum pressure to ensure compliance.

Tuesday's finding wraps up a case against the EU dating back to 2004 and means the USA can now seek WTO backing to impose sanctions on an as yet unspecified list of European goods.

Boeing predicted such tariffs could reach billions of dollars a year starting as early as 2019.

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