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Murray: Europe’s Empty Rhetoric Will Escalate Aerospace Trade Tensions

Sep 30 2004

Senator again calls for withdrawal from the 1992 US-EU Agreement on Trade in Large Civil Aircraft

(Washington, DC) -- Following today’s talks between Ambassador Robert Zoellick and European Union Trade Negotiator Pascal Lamy, U.S. Senator Patty Murray again criticized Europe’s empty, inflammatory rhetoric about the status of global trade in aircraft and failure to engage in meaningful bilateral discussions.

Senator Murray today again called for the United States to withdraw for the 1992 US-EU Agreement on Trade in Large Civil Aircraft.

“Europe has chosen the path of confrontation over reasoned negotiation. Airbus and its backers are 100 percent wrong if they believe this is a political issue that will go away after the November U.S. election,” Murray said. “We should immediately abandon the 1992 agreement and move toward a WTO case.”

With continued, escalating rhetoric coming from Europe and Airbus, Murray stressed America's desire to avoid confrontation.

"Europe's empty rhetoric ensures aerospace trade tensions will escalate quickly. The consequences of a trade dispute will have global ramifications for airlines, suppliers, and the two manufacturers. Airbus is choosing confrontation rather than come to terms with its status as a mature global competitor," Murray said.

The Europeans continue to claim that U.S. aid to Boeing is somehow equivalent to massive direct subsidies European governments provide to Airbus. Airbus and the EU are avoiding the real issue according to Senator Murray.

“The issue is cash advances to Airbus that allow risk-free product development. Airbus is no longer a start up company. Thirty years of direct subsidies have bought market parity for Europe,” Senator Murray said. “The only difference between these two dominant commercial and defense aerospace companies is direct multi-billion dollar subsidies to Airbus. Boeing has never received direct subsidies.”

After today’s unsuccessful talks, Murray concluded, “The current situation is intolerable for the United States. We’ve given Europe multiple opportunities to engage and they’ve refused to respond. The time has now come for the United States to stand up and say enough is enough, we won’t play this game anymore.”