(Adds more on dispute, EU arguments)
BRUSSELS Oct 13 The European Union launched an
appeal on Thursday against a World Trade Organization (WTO)
panel finding last month that it had failed to rein in billions
of dollars of subsidies to planemaker Airbus.
The WTO's 574-page ruling is part of a series of tit-for-tat
transatlantic complaints about aircraft subsidies that together
make up the world's largest trade dispute, still raging after 12
years of arguments.
The WTO said the EU and four nations - Britain, France,
Germany and Spain - had failed to comply with earlier rulings
against all but two of 36 contested measures, including billions
of dollars of European government loans to Airbus.
However, the EU disagreed with the conclusion that, even
though most of the subsidies challenged by the United States had
ended, the EU had not yet fully complied with a previous ruling,
the European Commission said in a statement.
The EU also considered that the panel made several errors in
its assessment of the alleged harm that these subsidies caused
to Airbus rival Boeing.
U.S. officials said Airbus had failed to undo subsidies
worth $22 billion, including $4 billion for the A350, on which
Airbus's prospects in the wide-body jet market largely depend.
The European Commission said the $22 billion figure
reflected the face value of all repayable loans granted to
Airbus and had nothing to do with the actual amount of
It also said the WTO panel had sided with the EU on some
points, such as that there had been no prohibited subsidies for
the Airbus 350 XWB or A380 models and that most of the other
subsidies challenged by the United States had come to an end.
"The present appeal should be seen in the context of two
on-going WTO challenges brought by the EU against billions of
U.S. subsidies to Boeing for its aircraft production," the
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Alissa de Carbonnel
and Mark Potter)