June 30,2010

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Baucus Applauds WTO Decision on European Aircraft Subsidies

Finance Committee Chairman Urges the EU to Comply with Panel Ruling

Washington, DCSenate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) today hailed a ruling by a World Trade Organization (WTO) panel that the European Union (EU) provided its major aircraft manufacturer, Airbus, with trade-distorting subsidies that have both harmed the U.S. aircraft industry and violated WTO rules.

“This report makes clear that Airbus received illegal subsidies – subsidies that hurt the American aircraft industry and its workers,” Baucus said.  “As we work to strengthen our economy and create jobs, it is more important than ever to enforce our trade agreements and maintain a level playing field for U.S. businesses and workers.  The U.S. Trade Representative wisely pursued this case, and it is critical for the European Union to comply with this ruling and eliminate its trade-distorting subsidies.”

The report issued today concludes that several EU member states, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain, provided Airbus with illegal subsidies that harmed the U.S. aircraft industry.  The panel found that the subsidies providing for the development of the A380 aircraft were export contingent, and therefore prohibited.  It also found that the subsidies provided for the development of other Airbus aircraft were “actionable” under WTO rules, caused adverse effects on the interests of the United States and are therefore inconsistent with WTO rules. 

The panel recommended the European Union withdraw the prohibited subsidy without delay and also withdraw the actionable subsidies or remove their adverse effects.

The Finance Committee is the committee in the Senate charged with overseeing international trade.