(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) stood with a bi-partisan group of Senators and Congressmen to applaud the final WTO ruling released today and call on the Administration to hold Airbus accountable for their illegal actions and take every legal action to ensure this ruling results in a free and fair international marketplace for American businesses and workers.
“Launch aid is an illegal subsidy that has undercut our workers, cost us jobs, hurt our ability to compete, damaged our overall economy, and it needs to end,” Senator Murray said at the press conference today. “Today’s ruling puts any doubts to rest. The WTO has ruled that Airbus has used illegal government subsidies for more than 40 years to become the world’s largest maker of commercial jets – and it does so as Airbus continues to use those subsidies to roll out new planes... Today is both victory and vindication. For too long, workers in Washington state have had to fight an uphill battle. Instead of competing just with Airbus, they’ve been forced to compete with the deep pockets of European governments that supply Airbus with illegal launch aid. Enough is enough. It’s time to even the playing field.”
Joining Senator Murray at the press conference today were Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), Senator Kit Bond (R-MO), Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), Congressman Norm Dicks (D-WA 6th) , Congressman Todd Tiahrt (R-KS 4th), Congressman Jay Inslee (D-WA 1st) and Rich Michalski, General Vice President, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.The full text of Senator Murray’s remarks at the press conference follows:
“Thank you all for coming here today. I’m so pleased that we have such a strong showing of members from: Both sides of Capitol Hill, Both sides of the aisle, And different regions of the country.
“Coming together to echo what today’s WTO final ruling has made absolutely clear: Launch aid is an illegal subsidy: It has undercut our workers, It has cost us jobs, It has hurt our ability to compete, It has damaged our overall economy, And it needs to end!!“Today’s ruling puts any doubts to rest . The WTO has ruled that Airbus has used illegal government subsidies for more than 40 years to become the world’s largest maker of commercial jets – and it does so as Airbus continues to use those subsidies to roll out new planes.
“The WTO ruled that that European governments have provided Airbus more than 15 billion euros in launch aid – subsidizing every model of aircraft ever produced by Airbus in the last 40 years.“They ruled that France, Germany and Spain provided more than one billion euros in infrastructure and infrastructure-related grants between 1989 and 2001—as well as another billion in share transfers and equity infusions to Airbus.
“They ruled that European governments provided over one billion euros in funding between 1986 and 2005 for research and development directed specifically to the development of Airbus aircraft.“In fact, the U.S. government estimates that this represents over 200 billion in today’s dollars in total subsidies to Airbus.
“So finally, the WTO ruled on something that we have all been saying for years—these subsidies caused adverse effects to United States aerospace companies in the form of lost sales, lost market share, and lost jobs.
“Today is both victory and vindication. For too long, workers in Washington state have had to fight an uphill battle. Instead of competing just with Airbus, they’ve been forced to compete with the deep pockets of European governments that supply Airbus with illegal launch aid.
“Enough is enough. It’s time to even the playing field.“Growing up in Bothell, Washington, I watched as our state and economy grew up around Boeing jobs and the airplane business.
“And every day since I have been in the U.S Senate I have seen how America’s aerospace industry has suffered at the hands of unfair subsidies . How jobs have been lost, our national defense decision have been impacted, and our industrial base has suffered.“It’s why I encouraged the Bush Administration to file this case with the WTO.
“And it’s why with Senator Brownback, and Representatives Tiahrt and Inslee, I am working to ensure that these subsidies that have cost us jobs in my home state and states across the country - are factored in when the Pentagon decides who’ll build the next generation of aerial refueling tankers.“Our objective is not to limit competition – our objective is to ensure that everyone can compete on a level playing-field.
“Airbus has made clear that they’ll go to any lengths to hurt our country’s aerospace industry. We need to make clear that we will take every action to stop them.“That’s why we will be working to make sure we see this ruling through, and that Airbus is held accountable for their actions.
“It’s why we’ll be urging the United States Trade Representative to take every legal action to ensure this ruling results in a free and fair international marketplace.“Our workers, our economic future, and communities all depend on fair competition.
“Today’s ruling reaffirms that for too long they’ve all paid a heavy price for just the opposite.“You know, I have been fighting for this for years.
“Back in 2005, I fought to pass a Resolution unanimously through the Senate that calls on European governments to reject launch aid for Airbus and that supports the President’s authority to take any action necessary to protect American aerospace jobs.“It’s been 5 years since that resolution. And illegal subsidies have continued to hurt families and businesses in Washington state and across the country.
“This ruling today is an important step in the right direction—it is a victory that has been too long in coming.“But I am glad it’s here—and I am not going to stop fighting to make sure we continue doing right by our workers, our businesses, and our economy.
“Because I know they deserve nothing less.“Thank you.”