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World Trade Organization

18 May 2011 - Statement regarding WTO Appeal Report on Large Civil Aircraft subsidy case against Airbus (DS316)

Airbus’ President and CEO Tom Enders provides the following first reaction to the report:

“This is a big win for Europe. We are pleased with the results. Congratulations to the EU for managing the case so successfully and winning on all key elements. It is good to see that the WTO has fully green lighted the public-private partnership instruments with France, Germany, Spain and the UK. We now can and will continue this kind of partnership on future development programs”.

Related documents

In order to provide a better understanding of the dispute, Airbus has made available documentation that provides further information and the company’s perspective on the two cases.

The context

Between 1992 and 2004, EU and US government involvement in the Large Civil Aircraft sector was regulated by the 1992 bilateral agreement between the US and EU on Trade in Large Civil Aircraft. Airbus obtained government loans – Reimbursable Launch Investment or RLI – under the terms of this joint agreement on only three of the eight Airbus aircraft development programmes. Airbus has repaid or is repaying these loans including any interest due and, in many cases, supplemented by royalty payments. No loans have been forgiven or defaulted on.

While Airbus has repaid these government loans - providing EU governments with a substantial return on their investment - Boeing has received billions of dollars from a variety of government sources for continuing development assistance which has never been, and never will be, repaid. This support includes R&D from NASA and the US Department of Defense, direct financial support from local and state governments and federal tax incentives.  In fact, no Boeing jet programme has ever been developed without significant US government subsidies.

Nevertheless in 2004, and at Boeing’s urging, the United States unilaterally withdrew from the 1992 Agreement and filed a complaint at the WTO alleging that the loans Airbus had received – and which the US had agreed to under the 1992 bilateral Agreement – did not comply with WTO rules. In response, the EU filed a counter suit against the US for its massive subsidization of Boeing. Two separate WTO panels were formed ("the Airbus case" and "the "Boeing case") to consider the two inter-related cases.

Airbus currently is in the middle of this lengthy and complicated WTO process, with an appeal ongoing on the "Airbus case." With regards to the “Boeing case”, the WTO final panel report has been released publicly on 31st March 2011. This report confirms that Boeing has received massive and illegal government subsidies for many decades, and that they have had a significant and ongoing negative effect on European industry. This followed a first confidential interim draft report on the “Boeing case” released in September 2010 and the confidential final report released 31st January 2011.



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