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FARNBOROUGH: Airbus ministers keep the heat on WTO

European ministers representing the nations behind Airbus joined the attack on the delay in the World Trade Organisation's verdict on alleged subsidies for Boeing commercial aircraft.

Last month, the WTO finally ruled that Airbus received illegal subsidies from European governments, a decision that Boeing says proves its rival is competing unfairly and invalidates its attempt to sell A330-based tankers to the US military.

A separate WTO panel is considering a parallel European counter-claim, although its report on whether the US government broke global trade rules will not be published until September at the earliest.

 © Airbus Military
Will the WTO ruling damage EADS's attempt to sell A330-based tankers to the US military

Ministers from France, Germany, Spain and the UK, meeting during the Farnborough air show, hit out at the delay and insist the WTO needs to deal with the two cases in a "parallel and balanced way".

UK minister for business and enterprise Mark Prisk says: "It has now been delayed three times. If it were to be seen to be delayed further past September that would be deeply concerning."

His French counterpart, transport secretary Dominique Bussereau, adds: "It does create a disequilibrium. We all deplore the situation. There is a disconnect that we didn't have." EADS chief executive Louis Gallois had earlier described himself as "enormously frustrated" at the latest delay.

While insisting the full story "will only be complete when the second report is issued", ministers add where they do not agree with the first WTO report's findings, it will encourage the EC to make a "robust challenge" through the WTO's appeal process.

Meanwhile, ministers attending the press conference from France, Spain and the UK confirmed previously announced plans of support for the new A350 remain unchanged,

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