EU failed to remedy 40 years of Airbus subsidies: WTO

Rather than comply with their WTO obligations to remedy the US$17 billion in past subsidies provided to Airbus, the WTO found that EU Member States provided Airbus with new launch aid for the A350.


A350 XWB Airbus Boeing Dennis A. Muilenburg EU European Union subsidies World Trade Organisation WTO


A World Trade Organisation (WTO) compliance panel ruled on 22 September that the European Union has failed to comply with its obligation to remedy the massive subsidies European governments have provided to create and sustain Airbus for more than 40 years.

Rather than comply with their WTO obligations to remedy the US$17 billion in past subsidies provided to Airbus, the WTO found that EU Member States provided Airbus with new launch aid – reportedly almost $5 billion – so they could launch the new A350, Boeing said in a statement.

The WTO was explicit: “It is apparent that the A350 XWB could not have been launched and brought to market in the absence of LA/MSF [Launch Aid].” The WTO previously found that subsidies had been provided throughout the development of nearly every aircraft type in the Airbus fleet, including the A300, A310, A320, A330, A340 and A380.

“Today’s historic ruling finally holds the EU and Airbus to account for their flouting of global trade rules,” said Dennis A. Muilenburg, Boeing chairman, president and CEO. “This long-awaited decision is a victory for fair trade worldwide and for US aerospace workers, in particular. We commend the administration, specifically the Office of the US Trade Representative, and the US Congress for their unwavering commitment to this matter and to enforcing global trade rules,” he said.