Airbus Defenders Question Tokyo About Aid To Boeing
What started as a disagreement over the way commercial aircraft
R&D is funded has grown into a trade war between the EU and the
US and now, other countries are being dragged into the middle of
the fighting. The EU now wants to know more about Japan's funding
of Boeing's 7E7 Dreamliner.
The questions came just a day after the Bush administration took
its beef over government subsidies for Airbus to the World Trade
Organization. The US also scrapped a 1992 agreement by which such
subsidies have been governed.
"The decisions by the US and the EU will also have a collateral
effect on Japan’s contribution to the development and the
building of Boeing’s new 7E7 airliner," said Etienne Reuter,
head of public affairs at the European Commission delegation in
Tokyo, in an interview with the London Financial Times. "The
important subsidies that Japan has pledged to this project had
indeed been perceived in the market as a circumvention of the EU-US
agreement in 1992."
The EU says Japan has dedicated $1.6 billion to developing the
7E7, parts of which will be built in the Land of the Rising Sun.
But the Japanese, like a lot of people in global aviation, are
getting a little nervous. "We are carefully monitoring the progress
of the WTO negotiations," one Japanese trade official told the
Financial Times, "and keeping our fingers crossed that it will not
lead to trade friction. But this is an issue that could open a
Pandora’s box with regard to the 7E7."