WTO says Boeing received illegal support
The World Trade Organization has ruled that the US government gave Boeing unfair financial support.
Airport news for UK Airports on 04/04/2011.
The World Trade Organization said Washington gave US plane maker Boeing unfair financial support. The WTO reckons Boeing benefitted unfairly from at least $5.3 billion in aid from the US government.
The financial subsidies given to Boeing include funding from US aerospace agency NASA for research and development. The ruling by a panel of judges is just the latest chapter in a long trade war between US manufacturer Boeing and arch-rival Airbus, which is owned by EADS, the European aerospace firm.
In a similar ruling in 2010, the WTO said Airbus had been given illegal support by European governments. The battle between the two companies over state support has been running for nearly six years now.
The latest case is amongst the most complicated ever heard by the WTO. Both Airbus and Boeing claim the Geneva-based trade body’s latest ruling backs their own cases.
Rainer Ohler, who heads up public affairs for Airbus, said it was time Boeing stopped denying or minimising the huge ‘illegal’ subsidies it receives. Boeing tried to say the WTO’s ruling vindicated the US company because the figure identified by the WTO, $5.3 billion, is nowhere near as big as the $20 billion European governments gave Airbus.
Michael Luttig, head of Boeing’s legal team, said the WTO ruling had destroyed the ‘convenient myth’ that Airbus needed illegal subsidies from European governments as a counter to Boeing’s support by the US government. Europe has argued that the total value of illegal subsidies received by Boeing from 1989 to 2006 was $19.1 billion.