EU to appeal WTO ruling on subsidies to Airbus

The European Union said it would appeal today a World Trade Organization ruling on its subsidies for Airbus, which is likely to prolong a dispute with the US for at least several more months.

The appeal is expected to challenge the WTO's findings on more than half-a-dozen counts which include findings that launch aid investment amounted to export subsidies and that infrastructure provided to the company also represented subsidies.

According to observers Brussels would likely hand in its appeal just ahead of a special session of the WTO's dispute settlement body.

The meeting due this morning has been called by the US for the adoption of last month's ruling by a panel of experts in the six-year-old case. This would have warranted that the EU end illegal export subsidies by Britain, Germany and Spain for Airbus's A380 airliner within 90 days.

"This dispute is too important to allow the legal misinterpretations of the panel to go unchallenged," Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said in a statement.

The widely anticipated appeal came after a decision by another WTO panel examining the EU's countersuit against US aid for Airbus rival Boeing. The decision called for postponement of an initial confidential ruling until mid-September from 16 July.