Airbus, EU submit package of WTO compliance actions

Washington DC
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Airbus and the European Union said on 1 December that they have complied with World Trade Organization (WTO) rulings banning unfair subsidies and called upon Boeing and the US government to take similar steps early next year.

The announcement comes six months after the WTO appellate panel made final rulings in a nearly eight-year-old trade dispute about illegal subsidies distorting the prices for both Airbus and Boeing commercial aircraft.

The EU said the package of actions submitted to the WTO to prove compliance covers all aircraft launched before the A350, which was excluded from Boeing's original complaint in 2004 because it did not yet exist.

The package addresses all categories of subsidies on "all models of Airbus aircraft covered by the WTO rulings", the EU said.

Neither Airbus nor the EU described details of the actions they had taken. Airbus described the actions as "limited changes in European policies and practices".

That submission may not be enough to satisfy Boeing's side of the dispute, which is looking to eliminate one particular form of subsidy that it considers most unfair.

"We expect Airbus and its government sponsors to demonstrate that the practice of market-distorting launch aid - the most pernicious form of subsidy Airbus was found to have received - has ended," Boeing said.

Meanwhile, both the EU and Airbus pointed out that Boeing faces a similar deadline early next year to comply with WTO rulings about its unfair trade actions.

"We call on the US and Boeing to do the same next year," Airbus said.

"We realise that this will mean substantial sacrifice for Boeing due to the far broader scope and scale of WTO findings of US subsidy to Boeing."