The WTO appeal ruling in the Boeing case confirms illegal subsidies from United States

The European Commission welcomed the WTO appeal ruling in the “Boeing case” which confirms that the United States granted billions of dollars in illegally subsides to Boeing under WTO rules. The EU now expects the US to fully comply with this ruling and to implement the findings and obligations by withdrawing these injurious subsidies or their adverse effects.

The WTO confirmed that the Boeing company received billions in illegal subsidies from United States. The WTO's Appellate Body rejected the US appeal and found that US Federal and State governments granted between US$ 5 and 6 billion WTO-incompatible subsidies to Boeing between 1989 and 2006. Subsidies to be granted after this date are estimated to be at least US$3.1 billion.

This ruling confirms that certain subsides to Boeing have damaged the interests of the EU and Airbus, notably the Research and Development funding granted by NASA to Boeing - US$2.6 billion; the Research and Development funding granted by the US Department of Defence to Boeing - up to US$1.2 billion; the Foreign Sales Corporation export subsidies – US$2.2 billion; the and the Washington State tax breaks to a value of close to US$3.1 billion for the period 2006-24. In addition, the Appellate Body DS353 on Measures Affecting Trade in Large Civil Aircraft ("Boeing") expanded the findings against the US by determining that US$476 million subsidies granted by the City of Wichita (Kansas) are also causing adverse effects.

On the Airbus case, the most important instrument, Repayable Launch Investment (RLI), was considered to be WTO-compatible in principle as it was ruled by the WTO Appellate Body in May 2011, with the subsidy element being, for certain cases, solely the difference in conditions provided in comparison to other repayable commercial financing. In contrast, support to Boeing has been and continues to be in the form of non-repayable grants or free access to government facilities.