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The On-Going Drama of WTO Cases against Airbus and Boeing

The Airbus decision. On June 30, 2010, a WTO panel released the full text of its decision finding that European aid to Airbus production of large commercial aircraft, in several instances, violated the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures and “impaired benefits accruing to the United States” under the agreement. The panel recommended that prohibited EC subsidies be withdrawn within 90 days.

Delay in Boeing case. A little more than a week after the WTO release of the Airbus decision, the WTO announced on July 8 a delay in issuing a report by a panel hearing the European counter-claim, alleging that the United States and its states and local governments had violated the WTO rules by subsidizing Boeing. The Europeans are outraged by the delay. Alan McArtor, the chairman of the U.S. subsidiary of Airbus, said the announcement of the delay “smells like last week’s fish.” Airbus is confident that the U.S. will also be found in violation of WTO subsidies rules. It fears that the delay in the report will put it at a disadvantage, as the only identified offender of WTO rules, as it competes with Boeing for a U.S. Air Force contract to build fuel tanker aircraft worth $35 to $50 billion.

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