The US move to submit evidence to the WTO, on 15 November 2006, regarding alleged subsidies provided by the EU, France, Germany, Spain and the UK to the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, stepped up pressure on both sides to find an amiable solution to a dispute which has been hanging over their heads for the past two years (see EurActiv 16 Nov. 2006).
Up to now, both sides had avoided the conflict by repeating their desire for a negotiated solution and by slowing down the litigation process with procedural bickering. If the dispute follows through, it is likely that both the US and the EU will be found guilty of illegally subsidising their plane-makers, which could be disastrous for both companies and for transatlantic trade relations.
EU trade spokesman Peter Power blamed the US and Boeing for forcing the dispute to be settled by litigation rather than negotiation.
But, in an interview with EurActiv, Boeing’s Vice-President of International Trade Policy Ted Austell stressed that the US was merely respecting a deadline and that the American submission "does not negate in any way the opportunity to work through the negotiation in an amiable way". He denied claims that the US move was timed in an attempt to deal a blow to the European company while it is at a low point.
Read the full interview with Ted Austell and Robert T. Novick, who represents Boeing in the WTO aircraft subsidy cases.