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Boeing, Airbus both claim WTO victory

NORMANDY, France – Both U.S. and European officials are claiming victory after a global trade court ruled in a long-standing dispute over claims of illegal government subsidies to Boeing and European rival Airbus. 

An appeals panel of the World Trade Organization found Boeing benefited from more than $5 billion dollars in illegal federal grants and state support when developing its 787 Dreamliner. European Union trade commissioner Karel DeGucht says the ruling vindicates Europe's claims of unfair trade practices by the U.S.

"The United States has been illegally funding Boeing with billions of dollars of subsidies for many years and continues to do so today," DeGucht said.

The Europeans tried to spin the ruling as a homerun for their side. But American officials noted the WTO found that Airbus got more than three times as much illegal aid as Boeing and suffered less economic damage.

With the final ruling in, the U.S. and Europe will try to negotiate a settlement for ending the subsidies to their aircraft makers. Failing that, each side says they'll seek to enforce the WTO ruling, possibly with trade sanctions.

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.