US trade representative Ron Kirk adamantly rejected the EU's recent contention that it has taken appropriate action to comply with the World Trade Organization's (WTO) ruling earlier this year that Airbus benefited from illegal subsidies.

He charged Friday that available information "appears to show that the EU has not withdrawn the subsidies in question and has, in fact, granted new subsidies to Airbus' development and production of large civil aircraft." He even went so far as to ask WTO to grant the US authority to impose billions of dollars in annual financial penalties against the EU.

Airbus said earlier this month that the EU has made "limited changes" that remedy the illegal aid that WTO ruled the manufacturer received on the A380 program, insisting that major reforms aren't necessary (ATW Daily News, Dec. 2). The EU and Airbus are now in "full conformity with WTO obligations," Airbus stated.

But Kirk said in a statement that the US does not believe the EU and Airbus have complied and is asking WTO for authority "to impose countermeasures annually in response to the EU's claim that it fully complied with the ruling in this case. The amount of the countermeasures would vary annually, but in a recent period would have been in the range of $7-$10 billion."

He added, "The United States cannot accept anything less than an end to this subsidized financing. The United States remains prepared to engage in any meaningful efforts, through formal consultations and otherwise, that will lead to the goal of ending subsidized financing at the earliest possible date."

He claimed that the subsidies received by Airbus "have directly resulted in Boeing losing sales involving purchases of Airbus aircraft by easyJet, Air Berlin, Czech Airlines, AirAsia, Iberia, South African Airways, Thai Airways International, Singapore Airlines, Emirates Airline and Qantas."

Airbus reiterated Friday that it is "confident it has fully addressed WTO demands."

Boeing said it is "disappointed that EADS/Airbus and European governments have failed to comply with the WTO's landmark ruling against launch aid … Boeing strongly supports all the efforts by the US trade representative to seek full compliance." Boeing claimed that, in addition to prior illegal aid on the A380 program, Airbus is now receiving improper "non-commercial launch aid … for the A350."