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Airbus says aircraft U.S. sanctions case is empty

12/09/2011 | 12:07pm EST

PARIS (Reuters) - Airbus hit back on Friday at a U.S. decision to press for sanctions in its spat with the European Union over aircraft subsidies and said it had complied with a trade body's findings.

The European planemaker responded after Washington rejected the EU's plan to comply with a World Trade Organization ruling on support and said it would request authorization to impose potentially billions of dollars annually in trade sanctions.

Airbus Head of Public Affairs Rainer Ohler said the United States had made a number of unfounded claims and requests since the start of the long-running dispute which involves mutual claims of unfair aid for Airbus and U.S. rival Boeing <BA.N>.

"Calling for sanctions is just another one of those empty claims. We believe its time for the WTO to review and assess the implementation presented by the EU," Ohler said in an email.

"Airbus is confident it has fully addressed WTO demands in a comprehensive manner."

Boeing said in a statement that Airbus could not comply with the WTO's findings as long as it ignored any non-commercial launch aid it is receiving for its next airplane, the A350.

"Despite the very clear WTO ruling, EADS/Airbus and European governments have failed to remove outstanding subsidies. This illegal subsidization of Airbus products - plane after plane - is unsustainable and must stop now," Boeing said.

Airbus says the WTO case does not cover the A350 and that any funds that project receives will comply with WTO standards. Boeing says the WTO rulings set a clear precedent for the A350.

(Reporting by Tim Hepher)

© Reuters 2011
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