WTO Appellate Body overturns key findings of the Panel in favour of the EU on the Airbus Case

The WTO Appellate Body report on the Airbus case has overturned several key findings made by the Panel. The Appellate Body found that support provided by Germany, Spain and the UK for the launch of Airbus' A380 aircraft is not a prohibited export subsidy under WTO Law.

It also rejected the United States appeal that other instances of Repayable Launch Investment (RLI) were export subsidies. The Appellate Body report, which is final, contains a number of clear findings such as that Repayable Launch Investment (RLI) for the A380 granted by Germany, Spain and the UK is not a prohibited export subsidy, all R&D programmes in the EU (European, national and regional) are fully compatible with WTO rules, especially relevant when compared to the findings on NASA and Department of Defense support in the Boeing case, treatment of infrastructure -the US challenge on Aéroconstellation in France has been fully rejected-, and the finding for the Mühlenberger Loch facility in Hamburg substantially improved. Moreover, the report concluded that the French government's transfer of its interest in Dassault Aviation to Aerospatiale in 1998 was not a subsidy.

However, certain 'actionable subsidy' findings do remain. Certain old equity infusions and restructuring measures by France and Germany, infrastructure measures in Germany and certain regional grants by Spain and Germany also remain.

Last April, the WTO Panel report proves that billions of dollars in US Federal and State subsidies granted to Boeing are illegal under WTO rules. Thus, the EU won the case which proves Boeing received subsidies from United States.

In the coming weeks, the Appellate Body report in the Airbus case can be expected to be adopted by the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) together with the panel report. Under WTO rules, in order to comply with the finding of 'actionable subsidies' is to take appropriate steps to withdraw the subsidies or remove their adverse effects within 6 months of the adoption by the Dispute Settlement Body.