UK response to WTO ruling on Airbus

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The World Trade Organization (WTO) plays a vital role in enforcing the global trade rules and resolving disputes between nations.

The WTO has today (Wednesday 2 October) issued its ruling on US retaliation rights in the Airbus dispute. It states that the US can be authorised to apply tariffs worth $7.497 billion annually on the UK, France, Germany, Spain (‘the Airbus nations’) and the wider EU.

The UK government is clear that resorting to tariffs is not in the interests of the UK, EU or US. We are working closely with the US, EU and European partners to support a negotiated settlement to the Airbus and Boeing disputes.

We are also seeking confirmation from the WTO that the UK has complied fully with WTO rulings regarding support to Airbus, and should not be subject to tariffs.

Background

The UK is confident that it has fully complied with WTO rulings in the Airbus dispute.

A ruling is expected in the coming months to confirm whether the Airbus nations are in full compliance with WTO law. The US is allowed to seek authorisation to retaliate before the WTO’s ruling on whether or not the Airbus nations are now in compliance. However, we believe that resorting to tariffs now would be short-sighted and counterproductive.

The WTO has previously ruled that both the US and the Airbus nations need to take further steps to bring support to the aerospace industries into compliance with WTO law. The UK and other Airbus nations have now taken steps to bring their support fully in line with WTO rulings.

In contrast, the US has taken no steps to bring its support to Boeing into compliance with WTO law. The EU will in some months equally be granted rights to impose countermeasures against the US.

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