Update, Sept. 6: There is a report out of Germany that the WTO found state loans to Airbus to be acceptable. The conflicting information and enigma goes on.
Update, 2:00pm: The New York Times says 70% of the USTR/Boeing complaint against Airbus was rejected by the WTO. The link is contained in the NY Times reference below in the list of articles.
News Flash, 11:35 AM: Reuters is now quoting EU sources that the WTO didn’t hand the US and Boeing the victories that have been claimed:
WTO did not rule Airbus aid illegal – EU sources
BRUSSELS, Sept 4 (Reuters) – Comments that the World Trade Organisation on Friday backed a U.S. complaint against European Union aid to plane maker Airbus are wrong and misleading, EU sources with knowledge of the WTO ruling said.
“The ruling is not a black-and-white case. It simply is not a great victory for the United States,” one source told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
“The claim that the WTO ruled that subsidies given (by the EU) to Airbus for their A380 plane were illegal is wrong and misleading.”
Reuters reported earlier from Washington, citing a person familiar with the case, that the WTO had ruled that billions of dollars in European loans to help Airbus develop civilian aircraft were an illegal subsidy under world trade rules.
Another EU source said aid given by Brussels to the European plane maker for its A350 aircraft was “not mentioned in the (WTO) report and so would not have to be repaid”.
He was speaking after the WTO issued a pivotal, but highly confidential, ruling on subsidies given by the EU to Airbus that stands to impact the global aircraft sector.
The Hill, Aug. 31: This specialty web publication follows Congress and has this long analysis of the prospect of the WTO ruling on the tanker competition, published in advance of the Sept. 4 report.
Key articles on the WTO dispute:
Reuters, Sept. 3: This one is a good recap of implications, reported in advance of the WTO staff report.
Financial Times, Sept. 3: Another good story in advance of the ruling about the broader implications of the US/Boeing win.
AP via Business Week: This story presents a good analysis on how the WTO ruling could hurt both Airbus and Boeing.
Reuters, Sept. 4: This is a great Fact Box recapping all the issues involved.
Reuters, Sept. 4: Boeing’s Defense unit says the Pentagon will have to decide what, if any, affect the WTO action will have on the tanker competition, according to this Reuters report.
The Economist, Sept. 4: Here’s a European take on the WTO trade dispute.
SkyNews (Europe), Sept. 4: As expected, the UK said it will go forward with plans to loan Airbus more than $500m for the development of the A350.
Bloomberg News, Sept. 4: This report says the WTO did find illegal subsidies were provided on the A380, conflicting with the Reuters report above.
Bloomberg News, Sept. 4: It didn’t take long for a Boeing supporter to tie the WTO report to the KC-X tanker bid. Note on comment on this issue below the jump at the end of our assessment:
U.S. Air Force Tanker Bid Should Consider WTO, Rep. Dicks Says
2009-09-04 19:22:06.212 GMT
By Gopal Ratnam
Sept. 4 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. Air Force must tailor its new refueling tanker bid by considering today’s World Trade Organization’s ruling that Airbus SAS received some illegal subsidies, Representative Norm Dicks, a Democrat from Washington state, said in a statement.
“It would be inconceivable for the Defense Department to issue its request for proposals for the new Air Force refueling tanker without including a provision which recognizes the ruling issued today by the WTO panel,” Dicks said in the statement.
“The U.S. government cannot reward illegal market actions that have harmed U.S. manufacturers.”
The Hill, Sept. 4: This specialty web publication follows Congress and has this long analysis on the possible effect of the WTO report on the tanker competition.
Aviation Week, Sept. 4: Reporter Robert Wall, one of the most insightful aviation journalists, is based in Europe and has this very good report on the WTO conclusions.
New York Times, Sept. 4: The NYT says the WTO found some but not all Airbus aid was illegal and that “most” of the financial aid to Airbus was legal.
Financial Times, Sept. 4: This London-based story has some specificity on the illegal launch aid attributed to the A380.
Reuters, Sept. 4: This article focuses on the affect of the WTO ruling on the pending KC-X tanker competition.
There won’t be any immediate practical affect from the World Trade Organization staff report that Airbus benefited from improper subsidies in the development of its entire line of aircraft. The immediate affect will be political and public relations points.