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Brownback: Air Force should consider WTO ruling in tanker bid

Kansas Republican Sen. Sam Brownback said he and others in Congress will fight to have the Air Force's proposal to replace its fleet of aging aerial refuelers consider a World Trade Organization's finding that Airbus received billions of dollars in illegal subsidies.

That it doesn't consider the ruling is a major shortfall in the request for proposal, Brownback said.

Brownback was in Wichita on Monday to see work Boeing Wichita is doing on refueling tankers for Japan and Italy.

The Air Force should consider the subsidized price of the aircraft to level the playing field, Brownback said.

The WTO recently issued an interim ruling that Airbus received $5 billion in illegal "launch aid" from four European governments for the A330 and billions more for other aircraft.

The head of Airbus parent EADS, Louis Gallois, said Monday that the WTO decision can't be taken into account because it's preliminary and because the WTO won't rule for several months on a counterclaim against the U.S. that the Pentagon and NASA are indirectly subsidizing Boeing.

Brownback said, however, that Boeing has lost 20 percent of its commercial airline market share to Airbus as a result of the aid.

"Airbus has subsidized its way into damaging the commercial (aviation) market," Brownback said. It shouldn't be able to do it on military programs, he said.

Read more at Kansas.com

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