EUROPE & CIS: Airbus and Boeing both claim WTO victory

A World Trade Organisation (WTO) report reportedly found Airbus received European subsidies to build commercial airplanes, but Airbus and rival Boeing both claimed victory in their longrunning spat. The verdict – five years in the making – was not made public and won’t be until June because the full report must be translated into three […]


A World Trade Organisation (WTO) report reportedly found Airbus received European subsidies to build commercial airplanes, but Airbus and rival Boeing both claimed victory in their longrunning spat.

The verdict – five years in the making – was not made public and won’t be until June because the full report must be translated into three languages.

In 2005, the WTO was asked to weigh in on a spat between the US and the European Union. Both have claimed each other illegally subsidised its own airplane manufacturing industry to maintain market share and jobs.

In dueling statements following leaked details from the verdict, Airbus claimed the WTO rejected 70 per cent of claims the US made over unfair government aid Airbus received to build planes. Boeing in turn claimed the US prevailed on all of the major issues in the WTO’s final decision.

The WTO said Airbus did receive some illegal aid in the form of research grants and loans known as launch aid. The launch aid was supposedly found to violate international trade rules because it was priced below market-rate terms.

“Because of the U.S. government’s undiminished resolve to end illegal subsidies, this decision should level the competitive playing field once and for all with Airbus, as well as set an important precedent for other nations with aspirations to enter the commercial airplane business,” Boeing said in a statement.