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WTO To Probe EU Claims Of US Govt Boeing Subsidies

Sat Feb 18, 2006 1:38 am

GENEVA (AP)--The World Trade Organization Friday set up a panel to examine what the European Union claims are U.S. government subsidies to airplane-maker Boeing Co.

The E.U. said the U.S. had failed to cooperate with its requests for information on elements of Washington's subsidies to Boeing and so had requested the establishment of the panel to help solve the procedural blockages.

The U.S. blocked Brussels' first request for a panel, but cannot block it now the E.U. has made second demand.

"While it would have been preferable to come to a solution before this meeting, the EC is still waiting to fully engage in this endeavor in good faith with a view to reaching a pragmatic solution to this dispute," the E.U. said in a statement to the WTO's dispute settlement body.

The new panel is the latest step in a complex dispute, which started when the U.S. filed a WTO complaint against Airbus aid in 2004, and Brussels retaliated with a countersuit targeting subsidies to Chicago-based Boeing.

Washington had also warned a decision to grant aid for the planned A350 jet - a fuel-efficient aircraft aimed at transatlantic flights, designed to rival Boeing's 787 Dreamliner - would make it harder to negotiate an end to the dispute. The A350 is set to enter service in 2010, two years after the Boeing plane.

Earlier this month, both sides brought up new issues -Brussels saying the U.S. wasn't cooperating in providing information, while Washington asked for more consultations with the E.U., claiming it was effectively paying new subsidies which weren't included in its original complaint.
Lex Ancilla Justitiae