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EC Seeks Compromise Over Subsidies for Airbus, Boeing


The European Commission says it is open to compromise in a dispute with the United States over subsidies to aircraft makers Airbus and Boeing.

Washington and Brussels have filed complaints at the World Trade Organization over the subsidies, but neither side has gone to the next stage of requesting panels to hear the cases.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick has warned that Washington is serious about trying to end European loans for Airbus, and will not wait long before taking legal action if there is no progress on the matter.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told a news conference in Luxembourg that there is a way out of the dispute.

"We are from the beginning looking for a compromise solution," he said. "We would like that solution to be found. We are ready for a compromise. And our trade representative, the trade [European] commissioner, Mr. [Peter] Mandelson, is in contact with his American counterparts, to find a solution and we very much would like to have that kind of solution."

The United States wants the European Union to end subsidies to Airbus that were agreed to under a 1992 pact. The European Union has said it is open to re-discussing the original agreement. But it wants Washington to reconsider indirect subsidies Boeing receives through government-financed development programs for military and space projects.

Airbus overtook Boeing as the world's largest manufacturer of big commercial jets in 2003, and both firms say the other receives illegal subsidies.

Mr. Barroso also said that such trade disputes can be expected in the era of globalization, and they should not setback larger trans-Atlantic relations.

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