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Source: European Parliament

EU-US dispute over civil aircraft subsidies

17-11-2020

Since the 1980s onset of intensified sales competition between American and European civil aircraft manufacturers, aircraft trade has been a point of contention in transatlantic trade. Between 1992 and 2004, the Bilateral Agreement on Trade in Large Civil Aircraft regulated the permitted levels of support to aircraft manufacturers. In 2003, Europe’s Airbus sold more large civil aircraft than United States-owned Boeing for the first time. The following year, the USA renounced the agreement and launched a World Trade Organization (WTO) case over State aid given to Airbus. The European Union filed a parallel case against US subsidies to Boeing. Following a long-standing dispute, the WTO authorised US imposition of countermeasures worth nearly US$7.5 billion in 2019. In October 2020, in a mirror case brought by the EU against the US subsidies to Boeing, the EU was authorised to impose retaliatory tariffs. On 9 November, the EU imposed these tariffs, on US$4billion worth of US aircraft, food and drink production. In addition to the tariffs, the aviation industry has been hard-hit by the coronavirus crisis. Joe Biden’s success in the recent Presidential election strengthen hopes for a negotiated solution to the dispute.

Since the 1980s onset of intensified sales competition between American and European civil aircraft manufacturers, aircraft trade has been a point of contention in transatlantic trade. Between 1992 and 2004, the Bilateral Agreement on Trade in Large Civil Aircraft regulated the permitted levels of support to aircraft manufacturers. In 2003, Europe’s Airbus sold more large civil aircraft than United States-owned Boeing for the first time. The following year, the USA renounced the agreement and launched a World Trade Organization (WTO) case over State aid given to Airbus. The European Union filed a parallel case against US subsidies to Boeing. Following a long-standing dispute, the WTO authorised US imposition of countermeasures worth nearly US$7.5 billion in 2019. In October 2020, in a mirror case brought by the EU against the US subsidies to Boeing, the EU was authorised to impose retaliatory tariffs. On 9 November, the EU imposed these tariffs, on US$4billion worth of US aircraft, food and drink production. In addition to the tariffs, the aviation industry has been hard-hit by the coronavirus crisis. Joe Biden’s success in the recent Presidential election strengthen hopes for a negotiated solution to the dispute.

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