Cantwell Speaks on Senate Floor on WTO Decision in Boeing Trade Dispute

Cantwell: “This is a huge win for 80,000 Boeing employees in the state of Washington as well as 1,700 suppliers, individual businesses across the aerospace economy.”

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) spoke on the Senate floor on the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) decision upholding Washington state’s extension of the aerospace tax incentives in 2013. The following is a transcript of Cantwell’s remarks:

Mr. President, I'd also like to say a word about a World Trade Organization announcement that was just made yesterday. One in which the World Trade Organization said that the Boeing 777-X program did not receive prohibited subsidies.

This is a huge win for 80,000 Boeing employees in the state of Washington as well as 1,700 suppliers, individual businesses across the aerospace economy.

It also says that the European Union and its efforts to retaliate against the United States and challenge the Boeing program, when we basically said that the launch aid they had been doing for more than ten years was illegal. It shows that it was right to raise these concerns by the U.S. and that the retaliation by Airbus was wrong.

Last year the WTO ruled that the EU had not taken steps to comply with its previous ruling regarding $17 billion in illegal launch aid to Airbus and that it had given another $5 billion in launch aid to the A-350 program even after these kinds of subsidies had been declared illegal. We need an aerospace market that is truly competitive, one that is not distorted by illegal subsidies.

These cases matter because the outcome impacts jobs here in the United States and aerospace is one of the biggest manufacturers in the United States.

We know in our state that there are lots of challenges and lots of competition, but we want that competition to be on a level playing field. We want to make sure that in the aerospace industry people are playing by the rules.

This is the third time the WTO has said that the massive illegal subsidies the EU has provided to Airbus are wrong and that they have failed to take the steps to comply and they need to change their behavior. If the EU won't play by the rules, then we should take the necessary steps to force an end to these anticompetitive and illicit schemes.

I say this because the WTO ruling today, while I know many of my colleagues think that this process played out all too long, and, yes, it did play out in a long fashion, yet did resolve the issue as it related to the retaliation that the EU and Airbus had against the United States.

Enforcement of these trade rules are important to U.S. competitiveness. I want to continue to strengthen our ability to enforce these kinds of rules and continue to make sure the U.S. government has all the resources and personnel to make sure that our trading partners meet their trade commitments, and our aerospace work force in the U.S. is second to none.

I want to continue to fight every battle to make sure that they can be competitive. So I want to thank everyone at the U.S. trade representative office for working so hard on this case for more than a decade.

It is finally time to move on and to make sure that the EU is in line with these past WTO rulings and that we continue to fight for what is a fair and competitive aerospace market. I thank the president, and I yield the floor.