The decision is in on the appeal of the WTO panel decision in the Airbus and pending on the WTO’s panel findings on Boeing.
The “what’s next” is dispute resolution and, failing this, the prospect of imposing tariffs on Airbus and Boeing airplanes.
This won’t happen. Why? It’s simple: too much is at stake. Neither company wants a trade war.
In raw numbers, Airbus has a backlog of 740 sales to US airlines and lessors at April 30:
Boeing has a backlog of 631 aircraft to European airlines and lessors, also at April 30:
We have not broken down Boeing sales to just the “Airbus” countries of France, Germany, Spain and the UK, and we couldn’t get an immediate answer whether the European Union might impose tariffs of just the Airbus countries or all of the EU (and the Boeing figures are for all Europe, not just the EU countries), so the numbers are a little apples-and-oranges. But the underlying point is made: it would be too costly for Airbus or Boeing to insist, through their respective governments, that tariffs be imposed.
As we’ve noted many times, any potential tariffs would most likely be imposed on unrelated industries, an option that we consider to be entirely ridiculous and counter-productive.
We’ve also previously noted that in the WTO case concerning Bombardier and Embraer, the WTO found both home countries violated WTO rules and ultimately authorized sanctions-but neither Canada nor Brazil imposed any tariffs on any industry.
This, of course, brings us right back to our long-standing view that the WTO, powerless to enforce its own findings and rulings, is a complete waste of everybody’s time.