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WTO to Examine Boeing 777X Subsidies

Posted February 25, 2015

Under Economic Issues, International Trade Issues

(Paul Ausick – 24/7 Wall Street)

The World Trade Organization (WTO) agreed on Monday to create a panel to investigate whether the incentives the state of Washington gave to Boeing Co. to build the 777X in the state are allowable under WTO rules. The European Union filed a complaint with the WTO in December alleging that the incentives are, in fact, subsidies and are prohibited under certain articles of the WTO’s Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM) agreement.

According to the EU’s complaint, the extension of the subsidies from the original termination date of 2024 to 2040 is “inconsistent” with WTO rules because the subsidies “require the beneficiary to use domestic goods rather than imported ones.” Washington’s state legislature approved an $8.7 billion package of incentives for Boeing in November of 2013 to ensure that the company would build its new 777X aircraft on the shores of Puget Sound.

Monday’s WTO decision is the first step in what is likely to be a years-long adjudication process. Contending disputes originally filed with the WTO in 2005 related to subsidies for both Airbus and Boeing have yet to be finally resolved, although a decision is due later this year. Click here to read more.