GENEVA, Feb 29:  The World Trade Organisation ruled on Wednesday on a marathon state-aid dispute between aerospace groups Boeing and Airbus, informing both sides of its decision, a trade source said.

The ruling, given confidentially at this stage, is on a European Union appeal against US state aid to Boeing.

But EU diplomats indicated that negotiations between the EU and the United States may be the only path to a solution.

The WTO decision brings to a head the seven-year battle between the aerospace giants in the world’s most costly trade dispute, but trade officials expressed doubts it would settle the issues.

Airbus has taken a big lead recently over Boeing in terms of orders for new aircraft booked.

EU trade spokesman John Clancy said from Brussels it was not possible to comment on the content of the confidential ruling yet.

“Today’s ruling, when it is made public, will provide us with a clear picture of where the two parties stand in the aircraft disputes,” said Clancy.

“We said all along that only negotiations at the highest political level can lead to a real solution and we hope that today’s report provides momentum in that direction.”

“The real challenge remains to find a mutually acceptable approach to maintain a healthy and viable aircraft industry producing safe and more environmentally friendly aircrafts,” said Clancy.—AFP

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