March 22, 2012 / 3:03 PM / in 7 years

Boeing backs rival in air row, stands firm on WTO

Thomas Enders (R), President and CEO of Airbus exchanges a copy with Jim Albaugh, President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes during the signing of a declaration on delivering sustainable air transport with other industry leaders during the 6th Aviation & Environment Summit in Geneva March 22, 2012. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

GENEVA (Reuters) - Boeing (BA.N) threw its weight behind Airbus in a row over European Union airline emissions rules on Thursday, even as it refused to negotiate a settlement in a separate dispute with its arch-rival over aircraft subsidies.

The chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes joined a chorus of criticism led by Airbus of the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme that will charge airlines for emissions, something Brussels believes necessary to help defeat climate change.

“This is not about Boeing and Airbus; it is about what is best for our customers and how we are going to get the whole industry to reduce its environmental footprint,” Jim Albaugh told Reuters.

“I don’t think the European ETS approach is the right one. We need to have a standstill on this and work with (UN aviation agency) ICAO and get some international rules in place that everyone can sign up to, and ones that will drive us to make the investments we need to improve the efficiency of airplanes.”

Albaugh said Boeing had not benefited from what Airbus has described as delays in Chinese approval to buy its planes as a result of the emissions row, but said Boeing expected to sell a significant number of 737 MAX and other models to China.

He rebuffed European suggestions that the governments backing Airbus EAD.PA and Boeing should negotiate a settlement to the world’s largest trade dispute, an eight-year-old spat at the World Trade Organization over aircraft subsidies.

“I am not sure we are interested in negotiating a settlement, what we are interested in is all parties playing by the same WTO rules,” he said.

In another trade issue affecting the $100 billion jetliner industry, Albaugh rejected criticism by some U.S. politicians of guarantees provided by the U.S. ExIm bank to support exports and predicted Congress would renew their funding within weeks.

Republicans in the Senate on Tuesday blocked efforts to force a vote on renewing the nearly 80-year-old U.S. Export-Import Bank’s charter for four more years.

Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by James Regan

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