Airbus is urging a negotiated settlement to an escalating US-Europe trade dispute, calling for detente amid news the World Trade Organisation (WTO) may authorise the US to impose tariffs on EU goods.
“A negotiated solution is the only real way of resolving this complex dispute,” Airbus says in a statement. “In a trade war environment, nobody will win… It’s a lose-lose scenario for the whole industry.”
Airbus’s comments follow recent reports that the WTO sent US and EU trade officials a decision related to whether the US may impose tariffs as compensation for subsidies Airbus received from European governments.
The WTO has not released the latest document, though several news outlets reported the trade court has granted the US authority to impose $11 billion in tariffs.
The tariff decision relates to the WTO’s 2018 determination that Airbus’s A350 and A380 programmes benefitted from subsidies. That case has been running for roughly 15 years, and Airbus insists it has brought its practices into compliance with WTO rules.
Meanwhile, the European Union is pursuing a case of its own against Boeing with the WTO, claiming the US manufacturer has benefitted from unfair tax breaks.
Both Airbus and Boeing decline to comment about news of the WTO’s tariff decision on grounds that the ruling has not been publicly released.
But Airbus is addressing broader trade issues, stressing a desire for the parties to settle their economic disagreements outside of lengthy international trade court battles.
“Of course, the counter-WTO ruling against the US and Boeing will come, likely allowing the EU to impose significant tariffs on US goods,” Airbus says. “Such a tit-for-tat fight poses huge risks to the entire aviation industry on both sides of the Atlantic.”