EU appeals against WTO ruling on Airbus subsidies

21st July 2010, Comments 0 comments

The European Union said it would file an appeal on Wednesday against the World Trade Organisation's ruling on a US complaint that some state support for aerospace giant Airbus are illegal.

"The EU will lodge its appeal with the WTO Appellate Body on the panel report concerning Airbus support," Brussels said in a statement.

"While the report sides with the EU in rejecting a significant number of US claims, there are other aspects of the report which need to be corrected or clarified," it said.

In a 1,200-page ruling made public in June on Washington's complaint, the WTO said EU states should halt some aid for the development and export of Airbus airliners.

It notably accepted three out of seven claims by Washington that key launch aid amounted to export subsidies, which are illegal under WTO rules.

Brussels said its appeal would include the finding that support for the A380 are export subsidies and therefore illegal.

It is also contesting the ruling that there has been a causal link between support to Airbus and adverse effects to Boeing.

In addition, it believes that the finding that infrastructure made available by EU member states to Airbus in Hamburg, Bremen and Toulouse are not illegal subsidies.

"This dispute is too important to allow the legal misinterpretations of the panel to go unchallenged.

"What is more, not appealing would allow for an unhelpful precedent for the WTO membership as a whole," it added.

Under WTO rules, a decision by the appellate body should be made within 90 days. However, given the complexity of the case, this could be delayed, further stretching out the complaint that began in 2004.

Meanwhile, a counter claim filed by Brussels at the WTO against state financing for Boeing has also been delayed.

The WTO was meant to have delivered a ruling in July, but has postponed it to as late as mid-September, a move that has angered the European Union.

© 2010 AFP

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