The WTO says the EU failed to remove subsidised government development loans for Airbus to produce the A380, the world’s largest airliner.
WTO rules against Airbus in Boeing case, Amazon warns Seattle over corporate wealth tax, more billionaires than ever, Iran and EU meet, and Brits in Brussels Commission changing nationality. Delano’s breakfast briefing.
Airbus ruling sparks trade war rhetoric
The World Trade Organization has ruled that the European Union’s failure to remove subsidised government development loans for two Airbus aircraft caused losses for Boeing and U.S. aerospace workers. The announcement by the WTO appeals body on Tuesday could spark a trade war between the US and the EU. Reuters reports that U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer said the United States would slap countermeasures on European goods unless the EU stopped “harming U.S. interests”. The ruling cites subsidies for Airbus’s super A380 airliner, and its A350 long-haul jet. But Airbus has also levelled significant subsidy claims against Boeing. “Today’s report is really only half the story,” Airbus chief executive Tom Enders said.
Amazon clashes with Seattle
Global tech giant Amazon has upped the stakes in its dispute with Seattle city council over a proposed new corporate wealth tax. The city wants to introduce an annual levy of $275 per worker for companies with revenue in excess of $20 million a year. The Guardian reports that pressure from Amazon, Starbucks and Expedia had already forced the council to reduce the tax from an initial $500 per employee. The paper quotes Drew Herdener, an Amazon vice-president, as saying that the company remains “very apprehensive about the future created by the council’s hostile approach and rhetoric toward larger businesses, which forces us to question our growth here.” But many local campaigners are angered at Amazon’s stance against the tax, revenue from which will be used to tackle the city’s growing homeless problem, which is the third-highest rate per capita rate in the US.
More billionaires than ever
The world’s billionaire population has reached a record 2,754. The latest edition of the Wealth-X Billionaire Census shows that there was a 24% growth in billionaire wealth in 2017. Interestingly, the report found that the number of female billionaires rose by 18%, outpacing the growth of the male billionaire population. It attributes the global growth to “significant increase in wealth to a synchronized upturn in the world economy and climbing equity markets.”
EU to maintain Iran deal
As expected, the EU will attempt to keep the 2015 Iran nuclear deal alive despite US withdrawal. British, French and German foreign ministers met in Brussels with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday. Reuters reports that several Iranian officials have told it that “as long as Iran could sell its oil and get its money, the deal remained alive.” But the EU ministers are aware that they will struggle to provide any guarantees.
Commission Brits change passports
About one in 10 British eurocrats at the European Commission in Brussels has taken another EU nationality since June 2016, Reuters reports in an exclusive story. Despite reassurances from Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker that British staff would not lose their jobs after March 29 next year, “slightly above 100” Britons have switched their “first nationality” to another of the 27 EU states, Reuters says. The news agency says that EU data and its own interviews “reflect a pessimistic view of the future in Brussels for nearly 900 remaining British staff” at the Commission.