Thursday, 25 October 2007

Curb Your Enthusiasm: Canada's Submission in EU-US Subsidy Row is Standard Practice

Some journalists got excited this week over the news that Canada has jumped into the EU-US row taking place at the WTO concerning large aircraft subsidies. In a third party submission, Canada says Europe’s argument fails on a number of levels. The home of aircraft maker Bombardier certainly has reason to care about the case since it could set precedent in other commercial discussions, like the previous one fought between Canada and Brazil, where rival manufacturer Embraer is based.

What hasn't been mentioned yet is that the submission is standard practice. Oh yes, and Brazil has made one too, as has China, Korea, Australia and Japan (let’s try to sniff these out…such submissions are confidential unless made public by the submitting country)!

The EU says it feels Canada’s submission “is fully appropriate” since WTO Members frequently intervene as third parties to express views. After all, the EC does this in almost every case.

It hasn't yet responded to Canada’s arguments, saying the appropriate time to do that would be at the so-called third-party session, a meeting in Geneva with the panel, the parties, and third parties, currently scheduled for January 15.

Both the EU and the USA have filed separate subsidy complaints with the WTO. The core of the EU’s challenge is the alleged research and development support provided by the US government to Boeing. The EU claims the US airframer will have benefited from more than $23 billion worth of subsidies between 1987 and 2024.

The USA, meanwhile, alleges the benefit of EU member state financing to Airbus alone amounts to as much as $205 billion.

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