News Releases

Murray Sends Letter to Bush on Eve of EU Summit

Feb 18 2005

Senator urges President to continue to push for end to Airbus subsidies

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – In advance of the upcoming U.S.-European Union summit, Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today sent a letter to President Bush urging his continued diligence in helping to end unfair European subsidies for Airbus.

“Europe is blind to the dangerous path Airbus is taking European governments and European industry down. I encourage you to once again open their eyes to the serious nature of U.S. complaints about direct subsidies to Airbus. Europe must understand that a renewed Atlantic alliance will not alter our demand that a competitive balance be restored to international trade in large commercial aircraft,” the letter states.


Just this week, Airbus’ parent company, EADS, displayed the lengths they will go to in attempting to secure U.S. taxpayer dollars to support European jobs. EADS is disingenuously wooing U.S. communities as locations for an “American” EADS plant with the promise of jobs. Unfortunately, these jobs are not guaranteed without the procurement of American military contracts.



Murray, the leading Congressional critic of Airbus’ many trade-distorting actions, has given several major addresses on Airbus’ business practices in the United States and abroad. Last July, Sen. Murray called for the United States to withdraw from the 1992 US-EU Agreement on Large Commercial Aircraft.

“While publicly committed to negotiations, Airbus and European leaders – including even the EU’s chief trade negotiator – have indicated that they fully expect billions of dollars in new subsidies to go to Airbus in spite of the U.S. threats to file a WTO case. Our willingness to seek a negotiated settlement to the subsidy dispute has been greeted by more arrogant entitlement from Airbus and its European backers,” Murray says in the letter.


The complete text of Senator Murray’s letter to President Bush follows:



President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500




Dear Mr. President,



I write regarding your important upcoming trip to Europe for the United States-European Union Summit.



With new hope for improved cross Atlantic dialogue, I encourage you to again forcefully call upon the European Union to address the competitive imbalance in large commercial aircraft trade that threatens a serious trade breach between the United States and the EU.



I commend you for your leadership in standing up to Europe’s efforts to subsidize the U.S. commercial aircraft industry out of existence. Thousands of American jobs have been lost in the last decade and thousands more jobs are at risk due to continued direct subsidies to Airbus.



In January, the United States and the European Union announced a 90-day period of negotiation to try and settle the subsidy dispute prior to pursuing a case at the World Trade Organization. Unfortunately, over the last month, European actions have spoken loudly about their long-term intentions to dominate the global aerospace market through subsidies and other trade distorting practices.



While publicly committed to negotiations, Airbus and European leaders -- including even the EU’s chief trade negotiator -- have indicated that they fully expect billions of dollars in new subsidies to go to Airbus in spite of the U.S. threats to file a WTO case. Our willingness to seek a negotiated settlement to the subsidy dispute has been greeted by more arrogant entitlement from Airbus and its European backers.



Also in January, Airbus launched the A380 in a lavish ceremony attended by four European heads of state. As you know, the A380 received almost $4 billion in direct subsidies and numerous other supports from European governments. At the A380 ceremony, Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero spoke of Europe’s vision for aerospace stating, “What we see here today is Europe cannot be stopped.”



Europe is blind to the dangerous path Airbus is taking European governments and European industry down. I encourage you to once again open their eyes to the serious nature of U.S. complaints about direct subsidies to Airbus. Europe must understand that a renewed Atlantic alliance will not alter our demand that a competitive balance be restored to international trade in large commercial aircraft.









Mr. President, I urge your continued leadership in addressing global aerospace trade. The economic and national security consequences of the status quo are very harmful to our national interests.



Sincerely,



Patty Murray
United States Senator