WTO Publishes Final Ruling in Complaint Against Boeing Subsidies; Both EU, U.S. Claim Win
GENEVA—The World Trade Organization made public March 31 a final WTO dispute panel ruling which found that the United States provided illegal subsidies to U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing that resulted in “significant” lost sales and price suppression for Boeing’s bitter European rival Airbus.
The European Union, which brought the case against Boeing on behalf of Airbus, described the decision as a win and said the WTO panel “clearly confirmed” the EU’s position on all its main claims. Notably, the EU said, the panel found U.S. federal and state governments granted Boeing illegal subsidies amounting to “at least” $5.3 billion.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative countered that it “prevailed” in the ruling and that the panel backed most of the U.S. arguments in favor of Boeing. Although the panel agreed with the EU in some areas, the “programs it asked the United States to remove were worth only $2.7 billion” USTR declared, a fraction of the $23.7 billion the EU had originally claimed Boeing had received in illegal subsidies.
The WTO dispute panel issued the confidential preliminary ruling to the United States and the EU Sept. 15 ((178 WTO, 9/16/10). The ruling was circulated to the United States and the EU on a confidential basis on Jan. 31.
Appeal by EU to Speed Up Process
EU officials said they expected to file an appeal against the ruling almost immediately, and most likely on April 1. The officials said the rapid appeal did not reflect discontent with the panel’s findings but rather its desire to speed up the appeals process and catch up with the separate WTO proceedings now under way on the U.S. complaint against subsidies for Airbus. The WTO’s Appellate Body is now reviewing appeals filed by the United States and the EU against the panel ruling—which was made public on June 30 last year—and is expected to deliver its verdict within the next few weeks, the EU officials said.
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative attorneys briefing reporters in Washington, D.C., said that their current focus is on the possibility of launching an appeal…