Boeing cheers subsidy ruling

City A.M. Reporter
BOEING chief executive Jim McNerney yesterday said he was heartened by a World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling on aircraft subsidies, saying it appeared the findings against his company were not as severe as those against Europe.

A Geneva trade panel issued a confidential interim report on Wednesday in a case brought by the European Union against US federal and state aid for Boeing, in the biggest bilateral trade dispute ever before the WTO.

The report found that Boeing benefited from US federal and state subsidies, but US sources said it was to a much lower extent than its European adversaries had suggested.

“It is too soon to determine whether Boeing will challenge the ruling,” McNerney told reporters

“I don’t think we’ve gotten to that point,” he said.

The European Union said on Wednesday it had won a victory against US subsidies for
Boeing that it hoped would set the stage for a negotiated settlement that would allow
European governments to continue to help Airbus develop new aircraft.

The ruling followed WTO condemnation in June of illegal European subsidies for Boeing
rival Airbus, mostly in the form of European government “launch aid” loans.

“What we have heard fairly heartening in terms of the proportionality of things that were found in the case against the US when compared to the case against Europe,” McNerney said.

“Launch aid” loans are European government loans that help Airbus develop aircraft. The WTO ruled past loans were illegal subsidies, although it did not rule on future loans.