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Letter to the Honorable Barack Obama, President of the United States


Location: Washington, DC

Senators Urge President to Coordinate Trade Rulings and Defense Procurement

Bipartisan group of senators are concerned over illegal subsidies to Airbus aircraft as it relates to the competition to replace aerial refueling tankers

U.S. Senators Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Kit Bond (R-Mo.), and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) today sent a letter to President Obama expressing concerns over defense procurement policy in light of recent World Trade Organization rulings that the European Union has illegally subsidized development costs of Airbus aircraft. The full text of the letter is below:

The President
The White House
Washington, DC 20005

Dear Mr. President:

We express our concern over potential contradictions between U.S. trade and defense procurement policies.

On September 4, 2009, the World Trade Organization issued an interim ruling that the European Union has illegally subsidized the development of numerous Airbus aircraft. This ruling is a significant victory for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which has pursued this matter aggressively for several years.

In particular, these subsidies have given Airbus an unfair advantage in the competition to replace aerial refueling tankers at the Department of Defense. European governments should not be rewarded with U.S. contracts for products they illegally subsidized, and DoD should not take actions that would undermine further efforts by the U.S. Trade Representative to level the playing field in the international aviation market.

We believe that defense procurement policies should work in coordination with federal trade and national security policies. We appreciate your continued pursuit of the case against Airbus at the WTO and look forward to hearing what steps you will take to preserve a level playing field for U.S. workers in defense procurements, including the upcoming tanker competition.

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