The European Union has asked the World Trade Organisation for the right to impose huge trade sanctions on the United States in retaliation for illegal subsidies to planemaker Boeing.
Brussels wants sanctions worth up to 9.3 billion euros annually on imported US goods and services as it said Washington has failed to comply with a WTO ruling that it should end subsidies in the aircraft sector.
The figure was “based on estimates of the damages suffered by the EU due to unfair and biased competition from the US industry,” the EU said in a statement.
It is the latest legal move in the world’s biggest trade dispute between Boeing and its European rival Airbus, which has gone on for over seven years.
The World Trade Organisation has ruled that both firms did receive billions in illegal subsidies. The US has asked for similar trade sanctions against Europe.
Experts expect the two sides will negotiate a settlement to this dispute rather than slog it out with more legal battles.
The US Ambassador to the WTO Michael Punke, speaking to reporters in Geneva on Wednesday, had said the EU was much more at fault than the United States.
“Here is the key figure to keep in mind, for those who are keeping score at home on the Boeing-Airbus discussion: Through the WTO dispute resolution process there have been identified $19 billion of illegal financing by Airbus. The equivalent number that’s been identified for Boeing is three to four billion dollars. So that’s the starting point for our discussion,” Punke said.
A WTO panel did rule that European governments provided $18 billion in subsidies to Airbus, though it said not all of those were illegal.