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WTO issues preliminary ruling against EU Airbus subsidies

[JURIST] The World Trade Organization (WTO) [website] on Friday ruled that Airbus received illegal subsidies from European governments, according to sources familiar with the unreleased decision. The preliminary ruling [Washington Post report] came in response to a complaint [materials; JURIST report] filed by the US Trade Representative alleging that the subsidies caused material harm to US aircraft manufacturer Boeing [corporate website], in violation of the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures [WTO backgrounder] and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 [text, PDF]. Representative Norm Dicks (D-WA) responded to the ruling [press release], saying that the subsidies allowed Airbus to "steal US aircraft manufacturing jobs" and that they should be curtailed immediately to "restore a level global marketplace." The WTO has yet to rule on a counterclaim brought by the EU alleging that US aid to Boeing is in violation of agreements.

In February, Congress amended a US economic stimulus package after the European Union expressed concern [JURIST reports] over a "Buy American" provision in the legislation. The EU stated that they were prepared to take legal action over the provision that allegedly violated the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement, an ensurement that both the US and EU will have substantial procurement opportunities in either region.

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