Cantwell Statement on WTO Ruling on Illegal Government Subsidies to Airbus

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) released the following statement on Tuesday’s World Trade Organization (WTO) decision that illegal European subsidies to Airbus continue to cause ongoing harm to the U.S. aerospace industry. According to the WTO, Airbus has been the recipient of more than $22 billion in illegal government subsidies. 

“I applaud the WTO’s decision that finally provides the more than 120,000 aerospace workers in Washington state a level playing field to compete globally. While this decision has taken years to get here, it's critically important because these illegal subsidies and other unfair competitive practices hurt U.S aerospace workers and cannot be tolerated. Effective trade enforcement policies are critical to protecting American businesses and workers from unfair practices. 

“I hope the Trump Administration will now push negotiations and get a final resolution to this dispute soon. Northwest aerospace manufacturers could have captured even more market share if they had not competed against $22 billion in illegal subsidies.” 

This decision ends a 14-year dispute over decades of subsidies by the European Union (EU) to Airbus, which enabled the company to capture half the global market in large commercial airplanes. The decision sets the stage for the US to pursue sanctions in an amount equal to the damage from those subsidies, which amounts to billions of dollars annually. If there are objections about the amount of sanctions from the EU, the WTO will then proceed to expedited arbitration.