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Important WTO ruling looms on Boeing, Airbus spat news
04 September 2009

Ahead of a World Trade Organization ruling, over a Boeing complaint related to over $15 billion in European government subsidies to Airbus SAS, US aviation industry analysts are quietly confident that the verdict would go in favour of the American company.

WTO judges are scheduled to rule on a five-year old Boeing complaint over what it calls are subsidies provided by the governments of UK, Spain, Germany and France to Airbus over four decades. This is a preliminary ruling which is subject to equally time-consuming appeals.

Toulouse, France-based Airbus and Chicago-based Boeing have traded similar charges over a long period of time.

In another six months, WTO judges will similarly rule over a European Union counter-claim against covert US government aid to Boeing helping it develop the new 787 Dreamliner and other aircraft. The EU has cited military contracts, NASA research grants and state tax breaks as evidence its appeal.

Airbus for long has dubbed the 787 Dreamliner as the most heavily subsidised aircraft in the history of aviation.

In turn, European government commitments of $4.2 billion in loans to help Airbus produce its new A350 aircraft will be sought to be brought under the scanner by Boeing. It will argue that a previous ruling against would prohibit all such ''launch aid.''

EU loans, used to boost exports of Airbus jets, are ''prohibited subsidies'' according to the US.

Whatever be the outcome, industry experts point out, both the EU and the US would need to comply with the WTO decision. Otherwise these countries may not be able to get future trade decisions upheld against countries such as China or India, they said.

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Important WTO ruling looms on Boeing, Airbus spat