Wednesday, June 30, 2010

WTO issues expected ruling

In a ruling that could impact the current battle between Boeing and EADS over building Air Force tankers, the World Trade Organization ruled that aid European governments provided to Airbus violated global trade rules. The WTO ruled that four decades of government-backed loans to Airbus helped it gain foreign sales, harming Boeing. The ruling was anticipated by the U.S. aerospace industry. The U.S. filed the case in 2004, accusing the European Union of unfair trade practices by subsidizing Airbus with hundreds of millions of dollars in "launch-aid loans." Airbus officials said the EU would appeal the ruling. "There's not a single WTO case that hasn't been changed on appeal," said an Airbus official. The WTO is expected to rule next month on a countersuit accusing the U.S. of unfairly subsidizing Boeing. (Source: Multiple, including Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Reuters, Orlando Sentinel, 06/30/10) Gulf Coast note: EADS, owner of Airbus, wants to assemble its tankers in Mobile, Ala.