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Trade body says Boeing was offered illegal tax breaks in US

AP  |  Geneva 

A World Trade Organisation panel today ruled that state offered billions in illegal breaks to plane maker Boeing, and that the US must take action to end the plans within months.

The European Union, which backs Boeing's EU-based rival, Airbus, claimed it as a landmark victory in the longstanding battle between the two companies that dominate the global market for airplanes.

The ruling is but a part of a wider squabble involving accusations between the US and the 28-nation over support for Boeing and Airbus dating back to 2004.

Today's decision found that the support state promised to give Boeing from 2024 to 2040 amounted to "prohibited" subsidies.

The support offered by came on condition that Boeing keeps the production of the wings of the wide-bodied 777x plane in the state, excluding foreign competition.

Boeing has extensive plants around Seattle and the says the subsidies would have amounted to USD 8.7 billion. Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said the WTO ruled against USD 5.7 billion of the measures.

The case could have some implications for President-elect Donald Trump's ambitions to support U.S. Business first and foremost. Rejecting some of the EU claims, the WTO found that only one of seven incentives provided by Washington state amounted to illegal subsidies for wings for the wide-body jet.

In essence, the "prohibited subsidy" involved the reduction of business rate on the condition that the wings were produced domestically within the United States. Malmstrom called Monday's ruling "an important victory for the EU and its aircraft industry."

"We expect the US to respect the rules, uphold fair competition, and withdraw these subsidies without any delay," Malmstrom said in a statement.

Airbus had already confidently predicted victory at the WTO over the Washington state tax incentives, saying during the latest tit-for-tat showdown in September that the alleged subsidies would "almost certainly be condemned as illegal."

Airbus had made that assertion after the trade body had found that the EU had provided billions of dollars of improper subsidies to the European plane maker.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, November 28 2016. 21:48 IST