On 15 May 2018 the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) handed down its final decision on the dispute regarding the alleged State aid granted by EU Member States to Airbus, challenged by the United States because of their damaging effects on the US based aerospace company Boeing.
The case initiated in 2004, when the US claimed that France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom granted AirbusState aid for the production of large civil aircrafts. At the same time, the EU submitted a claim in 2005 against the State aid granted by the US for Boeingaircrafts, nowadays at the stage of the compliance proceedings. The WTO issued its first decision on the Airbuscase in 2011, however the United States were not satisfied with the EU implementation of the decision and decided to bring compliance proceedings against the EU. The decision issued on 15 May marks the end of those compliance proceedings.
The decision states that the vast majority of the contested State aid had expired in 2011, so the European Union is not required to take further actions regarding State support that no longer exist. The Appellate Body rejected 94% of the US claims, and upheld 14 claims, which it deemed negatively affected Boeing. On those instances linked only to repayable loans provided to support the newer A380 and A350 XWB models, the EU will have to take swift actions to bring itself into line with WTO rules.
Thanks to the Appelate Body’s final decision, the US will be able to seek approval from the WTO to apply remedies in the form of tariffs against European imports to the United States until Airbusand the EU will abide to WTO rules decisions.