WTO interim decision in EU case

AUCKLAND - In New Zealand for the next couple of days, meeting with reporters and customers here, as I did in Australia earlier in the week.

Of course, the news back in the States has also caught my attention as it often does when I travel. You’ve probably read or heard that the World Trade Organization has issued an interim ruling in the European Union’s case regarding alleged government subsidies to Boeing.

Although the interim decision is confidential, there’s been a lot of “buzz” based on reports from people who are familiar with its contents. We’ve posted our response to those reports:

Boeing Response to Public Reports Regarding the WTO’s Interim Decision

Comments (6)

Louis W. Garrison (St. Louis, Missouri USA):

I'm confident that when the final conclusion is made public by the WTO we have been found innocent of the charges. I have faith in our company.

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

This is huge. Always felt that the NASA & DoD/DARPA contracts were WTO compliant. NASA particularly has pushed technological advanced industry wide. The US side -- NASA & DoD work -- has always been better structured/transparent. There's been fair play to partake in the research contracts. And there has always been clear vision - objectives - about what the purpose of the bidding and eventual work should produce. It's fascinating.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

It is incumbent for the WTO to be an honest broker and not biased or impartial in any way. I hope Boeing will proved to be clear of any allegations.

Patrick McArdle (Boeing Field, Seattle, Washington, USA):

Perhaps we should remember that the United States and the European Union are signatories to the WTO accords; Boeing and EADS (Airbus) are not, and indeed cannot be. Neither company did anything wrong; the countries involved must adjust their policies to align with their treaty obligations to the WTO, which (e.g.) prohibits the subsidy the Americans call "launch aid". The European Union, and all member states, must now abstain from providing Airbus capital at preferential rates for development of the A350. If NASA or the Pentagon has provided Boeing with subsidies the WTO prohibits, the American government must eliminate these subsidies.

I see little point in toting up dollar or Euro values and trying to make amends for past subsidies; the thousands of highly-skilled, good-paying, stimulating, and really fun jobs that could have employed my fellow Americans for the past several decades are gone, destroyed by the illegal and anti-competitive subsidies which Airbus received from European taxpayers over that period. The communities in which they would have worked, and lived, have suffered similar economic and cultural impoverishment. There's nothing we can do to remedy those injustices now. The best we can do is ensure that future such jobs are created in America by our personal and national industry, invention, and ambition, and the best way to do that is to eliminate the unfair trade practices which have harmed us so far.

I think we can realize some value by wondering what technological wonders could have been created by those same subsidized European workers, if the capital unfairly provided to them had been allocated fairly, which implies it would have gone to some other purpose. Would the European Union now lead the world in a vastly larger field of clean energy? How many life-saving and life-enhancing medical devices could those same engineers and machinists have created, instead of playing copycat to displace Boeing's products from existing markets -- a nasty zero-sum game? We'll never know, but we should always keep such things in mind as we (gently, yet firmly) remind our friends across the water of their need to uphold their treaty obligations to us.

Mat (Camberley, Surrey, UK):

So what is the result of the story

Boeing, heavily subsidised by technology transfer, ok under WTO rules, ballpark 20bn

Airbus, heavily subsidised by credits, ok under WTO rules apart from the interest rate, ballpark 20bn

Achievement 1: Boeings allegation that Airbus has killed US jobs is proven to be bollocks

Achievement 2: All the other countries with a growing airline industry have now an offical masterplan in hand how to get the industy developed

Achievement 3: A and B now knowing that both ways of financial help is ok, will establsih also the the second route to get money. And the losers are the tax payer.

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

Is the GE90 not a distant relative of NASA's Energy Efficient Engine?* It flew - and continues to fly - exclusively on Boeing's 777. Many of its technologies will fly on the Boeing 787 & 747-8 - in the form of the GEnx.

The GEnx will also fly on the Airbus A350.

*Please note in the given link that both General Electric and Pratt & Whitney participated in the NASA programme - obviously each took away whatever it put forward.

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