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