USTR - United States Files Additional Consultation Request in Airbus WTO Litigation
                 
The Office of the United States Trade Representative

United States Files Additional Consultation Request in Airbus WTO Litigation
02/02/2006

WASHINGTON - U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman announced that in response to new EU member State subsidies to Airbus, the United States is filing an additional consultation request under its ongoing WTO case.

"For almost two years, the United States has been seeking to negotiate an end to subsidies for large civil aircraft," said U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman. "We continue to prefer a negotiated solution. Unfortunately, the EU member States have continued to grant new subsidies to Airbus, even as our WTO case proceeds. By taking this step, we are ensuring that the new subsidies will be included in our case."

The newest EU subsidy to Airbus is a £5.2 million grant by the Welsh Assembly to underwrite the costs of training new workers for the Airbus A350. This Welsh subsidy was announced on January 26, and supplements the launch aid subsidies for the A350 that EU member States have already announced.

In addition to setting out new subsidy claims, the U.S. consultation request also provides additional information regarding the other EU subsidies that are already included in the ongoing WTO case. The United States is providing these additional details in order to address certain procedural questions that the EU has raised and thereby narrow the issues that the WTO Panel will need to consider.

"We still believe that a negotiated solution is possible," said Portman. "But one way or another, the subsidies need to end."

Background:

The U.S. WTO case against European subsidies to Airbus concerns launch aid for the A350, the A380, and earlier aircraft, as well as other government supports to Airbus, that are inconsistent with the EU’s WTO obligations, in particular its obligation not to provide WTO-inconsistent subsidies.

The additional consultation request filed on January 31, 2006, supplements the original request for consultations filed by the United States on October 6, 2004. The WTO established a panel on July 20, 2005, in response to that original request, and that panel’s work is ongoing. This new request is an additional procedural step that reflects the fact that EU member States have announced new subsidies in the time since the United States filed its initial consultation request.

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