November 3, 2009 in Business

Boeing backers press Obama

Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

A lineup of U.S. air force KC-135 tanker planes seen at the Manas air base in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in February.
(Full-size photo)

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of lawmakers who support Boeing in its bid for a $35 billion tanker contract want President Barack Obama to force the Air Force to include a recent World Trade Organization ruling against Airbus in its decision.

The WTO in September issued an interim ruling that found Airbus received illegal launch aid from European governments to build its aircraft. Los Angeles-based Northrop Grumman Corp. and Airbus parent European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. NV are competing against Chicago-based Boeing for the third time to replace 179 aging Air Force refueling tankers.

In a letter Monday, Reps. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., and 37 other Boeing supporters pressed Obama to find a way for the Air Force to account for the WTO ruling. A separate ruling on a European Union counter-complaint against the U.S. is expected in a few months. “It is clear that the illegal subsidies Airbus received gives it an unacceptable advantage in the tanker competition, and we would be remiss if we did not address this inequity,” Inslee said in a statement.

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