EU 'to appeal' WTO Airbus-Boeing ruling: commissioner

13th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

The European Union will likely appeal against the decision by the World Trade Organisation last month that subsidies to aircraft giant Airbus were illegal, the bloc's trade chief said Tuesday.

In an interview with German business daily Handelsblatt, Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht accused US authorities of using the WTO as a political weapon against the EU but said he remained open to talks with his US counterpart.

"We are not happy with the (June 30) ruling because it gives a very one-sided picture. It now looks as if only Airbus broke WTO rules. This is a ruling that we will in all probability appeal in some areas," he said.

The commissioner added: "Everyone knows that Boeing works in a similar way to Airbus. Instead of financial assistance from the state, they get billion-dollar military or civilian contracts."

He said he expected a WTO ruling on Boeing "in September at the latest."

The WTO's confidential interim panel report on US subsidies to Boeing was supposed to come out on July 16, but it was delayed, prompting outrage in Brussels.

"Washington uses the WTO panel on Airbus against us politically, for example in the tanker deal for the US Air Force. That is a problem that I would like to discuss with (US Trade Representative Ron) Kirk," said the commissioner.

Airbus and Boeing are locked in a dogfight to win a contract to build 179 aerial refuelling tankers for the US Air Force worth around 40 billion dollars.

© 2010 AFP

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