Airbus A-320 - avion - zrakoplov.jpg
Photograph: en.wikipedia.org

The European Union pushed back Thursday against a ruling that it was illegally subsidizing aircraft manufacturer Airbus.

The EU appealed a recent decision by the World Trade Organization (WTO) that had found ongoing illegal subsidies, opening another round in its 12-year-long trade dispute with the United States over funding for Airbus and its US rival Boeing.

The European Commission said in a statement that it disagreed with the way that the WTO's dispute panel had calculated potentially subsidized loans to Airbus.

Loans worth 22 billion dollars to Airbus should not be equated with subsidies, the EU executive body said, arguing that public funding consists only of the market interest rate and the preferential rate for Airbus.

"Also, the EU considers that the panel made several errors in its assessment of the alleged harm that these subsidies caused to Boeing," the Commission added.

Losing the appeal could pave the way for US punitive duties against imports from the EU in case Washington decides to apply for such measures at the WTO.

The Geneva-based trade body is also expected to rule on US subsidies for Boeing in the coming months, in a case brought by the EU.

In addition, the EU said it expected a separate WTO verdict by year-end on its complaint against the US state of Washington for supporting the US aircraft maker with 8.7 billion dollars.

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