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Trade and global business © Natalia Hudyma - fotolia.com

In 2007, Europe was the second biggest global producer of civil aircraft after the US (US 51% market share, EU 36%). European exports of civil aviation technology totalled €38 billion.

The sector in Europe is dominated by the production of large civil aircraft - aircraft designed to carry more than 100 passengers. In 2007, 56% of the European Aeronautical industry's turnover was made up of exports. Civil products accounted for 58% of total exports and military products for 42%. The Directorate General for Trade of the European Commission offers more information on EU civil aviation exports.

The most important barriers faced by EU producers of civil aircraft are the substantial subsidies paid by the US government to their competitor Boeing in the United States. The EU believes that the US Federal Government and US states have provided Boeing with more than $15billion in WTO-illegal direct subsidies or indirect subsidies through NASA and the US Department of Defence. The EU is currently testing the legality of these payments in the WTO. In 2006, the WTO judged that Boeing was the beneficiary of illegal tax breaks from the US government through the Foreign Sales Corporation tax rebate system. More information on the ongoing WTO dispute settlement.

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