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US claims victory after WTO condemns 'illegal' Airbus subsidies

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-06-30

The US Wednesday praised a landmark WTO ruling after the international body called for the removal of European state subsidies to aviation giant Airbus, deeming them "illegal". The European Union is widely expected to appeal the WTO ruling.

AFP - The United States Wednesday claimed a "landmark victory" in a WTO ruling over its complaint on multibillion dollar subsidies for aircraft giant Airbus, a top US trade official said.

"This important victory will benefit American aerospace workers, who have had to endure watching Airbus receive these massive subsidies for more than 40 years," said US Trade Representative Ron Kirk in a statement.

"These subsidies have greatly harmed the United States, including causing Boeing to lose sales and market share. Today's ruling helps level the competitive playing field with Airbus," he said.

The World Trade Organisation ruled Wednesday that some Airbus subsidies were illegal, although an industry source had already warned the European Union would appeal the ruling over the US complaint against multibillion dollar subsidies.

"What emerges clear as day from this panel report is that Europe has never been able to provide launch aid in a manner that is consistent with its WTO obligations," said Tim Reif, general council for the office of the US Trade Representative.

"This panel report should therefore be a strong signal to the European Union and the member states to refrain from future launch aid disbursements."» The longawaited ruling on the US complaint had held unfair subsidies from the EU to Airbus worth up to 200 billion dollars (139 billion euros) helped the European maker seize more than half of the market for civil airlines.
 

Date created : 2010-06-30

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