French President Nicolas Sarkozy has accused the United States of protectionism over its handling of a 36 billion euro contract for refuelling planes for the military, which now looks certain to be awarded to Boeing.
The scathing attack came while Sarkozy was on a visit to London, for talks with UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
“Behaving like this is not good for the US or its European allies,”, he said, “If they want to make themselves heard in the fight against protectionism, then they should not set the example.”
US defence contractor Northrop Grumann and its European partner EADS this week withdrew from a long-running contest to supply tanker planes to the US Air Force, saying the rules favoured Boeing.
The top US exporter is now the sole known bidder for the lucrative contract.