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European Union Complies With WTO Airbus Ruling

An Airbus A380. European officials say they've now dropped all illegal subsidies for the Boeing rival. Photo by Kentaro Iemoto/Flickr
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An Airbus A380. European officials say they've now dropped all illegal subsidies for the Boeing rival. Photo by Kentaro Iemoto/Flickr

European officials say they've now dropped all illegal subsidies for Boeing rival Airbus. That's after the World Trade Organization ruled the EU had given billions of dollars worth of improper aid to the European aircraft builder.

This is the latest installment of the seven-year-long saga between the world's two largest makers of jetliners. The Europeans have grudgingly enacted a package of changes that withdraw the supports they gave Airbus.

Among other findings, the WTO said France, Germany and other countries made loans to Airbus at low rates. That gave the European firm an unfair advantage over Boeing.

EU trade spokesman John Clancy says that's now been corrected.

"Through this package we address all categories of subsidies, all forms of adverse affects, and all models of Airbus aircraft covered by the WTO rulings," he says.

US trade officials say they'll be looking closely to make sure the Europeans have actually dismantled the illegal supports given to Airbus. But the WTO also found that Boeing benefited from illegal government subsidies, too.

A final ruling on that case is expected early next year.

On the Web:

Summary of EU-Airbus dispute:

http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/cases_e/ds316_e.htm

Copyright 2011 KPLU.

Copyright 2011 KNKX Public Radio

Liam Moriarty started with KPLU in 1996 as our freelance correspondent in the San Juan Islands. He’s been our full-time Environment Reporter since November, 2006. In between, Liam was News Director at Jefferson Public Radio in Ashland, Oregon for three years and reported for a variety of radio, print and web news sources in the Northwest. He's covered a wide range of environment issues, from timber, salmon and orcas to oil spills, land use and global warming. Liam is an avid sea kayaker, cyclist and martial artist.