IAM: Washington tax breaks not ‘trade-distorting’
Because of that, it seems unlikely that they are a factor in the World Trade Organization’s new ruling in the trade dispute between the United States and European Union over aerospace subsidies.
“The tax breaks and incentives were carefully crafted to apply to all commercial airplane manufacturers,” leaders of Machinists District Lodge 751 said Wednesday. “That is hardly ‘trade-distorting.’”
The WTO panel reviewing the case released its findings on Wednesday. At this point, the thousand-page document is secret. But reports have emerged that the WTO found that Boeing had received at least some aid that is illegal under WTO rules — however, the amount of aid appears to be far less than the tens of billions of European government aid to Airbus parent company EADS, which the WTO had previously ruled was out-of-bounds.
Washington state approved $3.2 billion in tax breaks for the aerospace industry in 2003, during its successful pursuit of Boeing’s 787 assembly line. But the aid wasn’t limited to Boeing, the union pointed out.
“If Airbus — or Embraer or Bombardier, or one of their suppliers — wants to open a plant here in Washington, they’d enjoy the same incentives that Boeing got,” the union said.
The competing WTO rulings have been an issue in the outgoing political wrangling over the U.S. Air Force‘s aerial refueling tanker contract.
Whatever the world trade panel decides, it doesn’t change the fact that Boeing’s bid is better than EADS’s, the Machinists said. “Boeing’s bid represents the common-sense choice, a proven, combat-ready design that will be built in existing American factories by the best aerospace workers in the world, the Machinists of District 751.”
Formed in Seattle in 1935 to represent hourly workers at Boeing, District 751 now represents 25,000 working men and women at 42 employers across the states of Washington and California.
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