European Union accusations that the USA is withholding data on state and federal subsidies to Boeing in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) dispute over aircraft subsidies have been countered with a US complaint over fresh subsidy support for Airbus.

The EU and the USA agreed last year on how to make commercial and government records available to each other before arbitration began after the WTO said it would investigate state aid to US aircraft manufacturer Boeing and its European rival Airbus. The “Annexe 5” process involves an exchange of questions between governments, with the information pro­vided to two panels of trade experts.

The EU is unhappy with information the USA has so far submitted. “We have had difficulty in obtaining certain requested documentation and other written answers to our questions,” it says. “The US trade representative is denying that these fall within the limits of the investigation, so to remove that excuse we have asked for the scope of the investigation to be clarified.”

The USA says it has followed WTO rules and procedures. “We operate in a rules-based trading system and follow those rules. We’ve been fully forthcoming on items that are properly part of the dispute,” says a spokeswoman for US trade representative Rob Portman.

The USA has filed an additional request, which includes a call for further consultation with the EU over subsidies awarded to Airbus by EU member states since the USA filed its consultation request.

“For example, only last week, the Welsh Assembly gave Airbus UK a £5.2 million [$9.2 million] grant to underwrite the costs of training new workers for the A350,” says the spokeswoman.


Source: Flight International