U.S. Issues Cross-Appeal of WTO Findings on Airbus

 - August 20, 2010, 10:50 AM

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) yesterday appealed to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body two findings in the panel report on European subsidies (EU) to Airbus in late June. In its appeal, the U.S. challenges the WTO panel's finding that the launch aid granted to Airbus over the course of 40 years did not constitute part of an ongoing program of assistance, and the panel's finding that certain launch aid contracts did not amount to export subsidies. The U.S. issued its appeal in response to an appeal filed last month by the EU, which challenged most of the findings made by the panel. Last week the EU filed a 700-page brief in support of its appeal. The U.S. will file its response to the EU arguments at the end of September, the U.S. Trade Representative's office said in a statement. The office did not specify the launch aid contracts with which it took issue. It did, however, reiterate that the panel ruled in favor of the U.S. "on most issues" and that it considers its reasoning sound. "The June ruling was an important victory for American aerospace workers and helped to level the competitive playing field for them," said a USTR spokeswoman. "However, the panel made two mistakes, and the United States is appealing these limited findings." Meanwhile, a separate WTO panel plans to issue a preliminary report next month on the EU's complaint about U.S. government subsidies to Boeing. Airbus parent EADS, for one, has complained about the length of time separating the publication of the two rulings, calling the delay of the decision on the EU complaint against U.S. aid to Boeing "enormously" frustrating due to its potential effect on the competition for a U.S. Air Force tanker contract worth some $50 billion.