EU urges case against Airbus to be thrown out
Airbus is due to urge trade experts in Geneva to throw out the case by US rival Boeing alleging that billions of dollars the aerospace consortium received from European governments amounted to "illegal subsidies."
The two aircraft makers have been verbally slugging it out before a dispute panel at the Geneva-based World Trade Organisation (WTO), which must decide if the money Airbus received breached international trade-subsidy rules.
In a submission due to be heard Thursday by the WTO panel, the European Union (EU) conceded that Airbus received large sums from the British, French, Spanish and German governments over a period of 40 years. It claims that the loans were permitted and legitimate under agreements excluding the large civil-aircraft industry from certain subsidy rules.
Boeing alleged that the aid had given its European competitor an unfair trade advantage, allowing it to bring new aircraft to the market cheaply. Meanwhile, the EU has launched a similar case against Boeing, alleging the US-based company benefits from hidden US subsidies.
The hearing comes at a difficult time for Airbus, which has announced plans to close plants and cut 10,000 jobs across Europe in the next four years.
The case is the biggest to come before the WTO disputes panel so far. A ruling is expected by autumn.