WTO: Boeing Received Unfair Government Support

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The World Trade Organization (WTO) says Boeing has benefited from billions in illegal government subsidies. The ruling comes three months after it issued a similar ruling against Airbus. Confidential sources told The Wall Street Journal that the confidentially released report says Boeing received billions in funding from various state and federal agencies. In June, the WTO found that Airbus had received billions in illegal aid. Prior to seeing the WTO's conclusion, Boeing issued a statement that said its activities didn't "even approach the sheer scale of European subsidy practices." Some numbers we've seen suggest otherwise, but the parsing the numbers (some funding is legal while other funding is not) is another matter. After the ruling's release, Boeing held the line that it clearly partook in less wrongdoing. Meanwhile, European officials said the WTO's findings could force Boeing to forgo or repay billions in subsidies. (That may also be true for Airbus.) How the ruling is ultimately enforced will affect how new planes are funded through development in coming years.

It has now been six years since the dispute was initiated. Now, with WTO rulings in for both Airbus and Boeing, both manufacturers are still pointing the finger at the other. Enforcement of the two rulings is yet to be resolved, but will seek to provide clarification of fair international business practices and competition. Negotiations will determine which company (if either) has to repay how much to what entity and how funding can be legally applied moving forward. In other words: Both rulings may be in, but the outcome is yet to be determined.