US says EU stalling on Airbus, blocks request for WTO compliance panel

Demonstration airplane Airbus A350 XWB, in Moscow. [Shutterstock]

The US said on Wednesday (15 August) the EU and four of its planemaker states have failed to bring subsidies for Airbus into line with a World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling of last May, an accusation refuted by the EU.

The EU asked the WTO last week to certify that it has complied with WTO rulings that found its Airbus subsidies illegal, attempting to forestall billions of dollars of US retaliatory sanctions.

However, at Wednesday’s meeting of the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body, the EU’s request to set up a fresh panel to rule on its “full compliance” was blocked by the US delegation. The next meeting is on 27 August where the row is expected to surface again.

“As we sit here today, the EU and these four member states still have not provided even the most basic information about alleged amendments made to certain launch aid contracts,” the US delegation said, referring to Britain, France, Germany and Spain.

The WTO appeals body ruled on 15 May that the EU had failed to remove subsidised government development loans for the world’s largest airliner, the A380, and Europe’s newest long-haul jet, the A350, causing losses for Boeing and US aerospace workers.

The two trading powers have been locked in a 14-year dispute over funding to Airbus and US rival Boeing.

The EU has complained to the WTO against prohibited support it says Washington has given Boeing and a parallel panel ruling on that complaint is expected later this year.

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