Because after 17 years the Airbus-Boeing case is close to a turning point

Because after 17 years the Airbus-Boeing case is close to a turning point

The United States and the European Union have signed an agreement to end the trade war on subsidies given to the two multinational aircraft manufacturing companies

The construction of an Airbus (Getty Images) After more than 17 years of legal dispute and two years of economic sanctions, the European Union and the United States have resolved the controversy over subsidies to Airbus and Boeing, which began in 2004. For nearly two decades, Brussels and Washington have accused each other of supporting the two aircraft manufacturers through state aid , not provided for by the rules established in international agreements. The agreement was announced following the summit between the United States and the European Union in Belgium, scheduled for today June 15.

The controversy has seen on the one hand the United States for Boeing, and on the other Germany, France and Spain for Airbus. In 2004, both sides asked the World Trade Organization (WTO) to verify whether the state aid granted to the two companies was compatible with the rules of international trade. In particular, regarding the violations of the Agreement on Subsidies and Compensatory Measures (Scm agreement) and of the General Agreement on Customs Tariffs and Trade (the famous Gatt).

After 15 years, in 2019, the WTO has authorized the United States to impose the suspension of many tariff concessions to the European Union. An opportunity immediately exploited by the then US President Donald Trump who imposed 7.5 billion dollars a year in duties on goods imported from the Union. Just a year later, the WTO ruled that the European Union was also entitled to levy tariffs on goods of US origin, totaling $ 4 billion a year, as compensation for the competitive damage suffered by US subsidies to Boeing. .

The impact of the duties imposed by Trump has not only affected goods related to the aerospace industry from the countries of the consortium that controls Airbus, but has also afflicted the agri-food sector, with particular damage to Italy. Although the number of Italian products affected by the duties is lower than those of other member states, the sanctions have affected some of our best-known products, such as Parmesan, leading to a 13.7% drop in exports in the last quarter. of 2019.

According to the Financial Times, after two days of intense negotiations, the Biden administration and European officials have finalized a multi-year agreement that limits subsidies. This decision is an opportunity to strengthen relations between the two sides of the Atlantic after the Trump era and a sign of good will in wanting to strengthen multilateral relations, as requested by Biden during the G7.

[Article updated at 14.50 on June 15, 2021]

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