EU rejects U.S. claim to have weaned Boeing off subsidies
By Tom Miles
GENEVA (Reuters) - U.S. aircraft giant Boeing is still getting U.S. subsidies despite Washington's claim to have stopped the handouts, the European Union said on Tuesday in the latest round of the world's biggest trade dispute.
The EU's claim came one day after the U.S. Trade Representative's office said it had complied with a ruling by a World Trade Organisation dispute panel that found Boeing had benefited from illegal payments. The United States had until September 23 to comply.
"We had expected that the U.S. would have finally complied in good faith with its international commitments and would have abided by the WTO rulings that clearly condemned U.S. subsidies to Boeing", EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said in a statement.
"We are disappointed that this does not seem to be the case. So, the U.S. leaves us with no other choice but to insist on proper compliance before the World Trade Organisation. We are confident that this process will finally lead to a level playing field in the aircraft sector."
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative's office said the United States was confident it has fully complied with the WTO ruling against U.S. subsidies for Boeing, but was still studying the EU's claim it had not.
"Based on our initial review, the EU simply does not account for many of the changes announced by the United States. For example, the EU included programs in its request that we made clear have been terminated," USTR spokeswoman Andrea Mead said.
The U.S. has set out very clearly how it had complied with the WTO ruling, and the numerous steps it has taken to insure full compliance, Boeing spokesman Charlie Miller said.
The U.S. is still trying to stop European governments from subsidizing Airbus, including so-called launch aid for the Airbus A350 jet, Miller said. Continued...