Cantwell: Boeing won tanker contract despite subsidies

By:  Aubrey Cohen, SeattlePI.com

Thursday’s World Trade Organization ruling on illegal subsidies to Boeing affirmed that the U.S. plane maker got way less than Airbus and won the Air Force’s $35 billion tanker contract despite that handicap, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., declared Thursday.

“This final ruling confirms what we already knew: Airbus has had a massive illegal advantage over Boeing for years,” Cantwell said, adding:

Illegal subsidies to foreign competitors harm the U.S. aerospace industry and its workers, and they must come to an end. The results of today’s ruling stand in stark contrast to what the WTO ruled in the Boeing vs. EU case last June: that Airbus had received $20 billion in illegal subsidies, the majority of which came in the form of aircraft-specific launch aid. The EU should put a stop to launch aid, which distorts the true price of products and creates unfair competition in the global marketplace.

Today’s ruling reaffirms that American sweat equity beat out massive illegal subsidies for the Air Force’s tanker contract. American workers will win every time, if given a fair playing field. The deck was stacked in favor of Airbus – and American ingenuity won anyway.

Gov. Chris Gregoire said:

This panel report reflects a broad win for the United States and for Boeing, essentially reinforcing what we have long said – that European subsidies to Airbus are far larger than anything the United States does for Boeing. In Washington state, we are still reviewing the panel report and will be consulting with federal trade officials on our next steps. It’s important to remember that these panel findings could change as a result of the appeals process. Given that – it’s unclear what the effect of the panel report will be on Washington state at this time.