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US Pressure on EC regarding Boeing (formatting fixed)
Sorry about the formatting on the last version. Quite an astonishing
amount of pressure. jl
>From AllPolitics, regarding US pressure on the EC to approve the
US wants Europe Backing on Merger
By BARRY SCHWEID
AP Diplomatic Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) President Clinton and senior aides are conducting a
telephone campaign to head off a trade war with Europe over its
objections to the proposed merger of American defense giants Boeing Co.
and McDonnell Douglas Corp.
The immediate objective is delay of a meeting Wednesday at which the
European Commission's executive agency is widely expected to reject the
$15 billion deal, claiming it would stifle competition in aviation.
While EU officials in Brussels, Belgium, held out little hope Tuesday
for a last-minute compromise to defuse the threat of a trade battle, an
administration official here said there were signs of progress after the
flurry of telephone calls.
Clinton spoke to Jean Claude Juncker, the prime minister of Luxembourg
who is head of the European Council, and to Italian Prime Minister
Romano Prodi, said another administration official, confirming European
"I'd like to see a resolution of this," Clinton said.
And, he said, "I think there's a way to work this out. I'm hopeful that
by Wednesday, when the (European) Commission meets, an agreement will
have been reached."
The Federal Trade Commission, which approved the merger, is an
independent agency, and it has ruled that the merger did not violate
U.S. antitrust laws, Clinton noted before meeting at the White House
with his budget advisers.
"Indeed, the commercial side of the McDonnell Douglas business has
suffered with the rise of the European company Airbus," the president
In a campaign orchestrated by Daniel K. Tarullo, his
assistant for international economic policy, Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright telephoned German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel and
Undersecretary of State Stuart Eizenstat made other calls to
Luxembourg, because it is the current head of the European Council, the
United Kingdom and Germany were targeted for U.S. persuasion efforts,
said the administration officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
On Capitol Hill, meanwhile, a bipartisan group of 59 lawmakers signed a
letter to European Commission President Jacques Santer expressing
concern about the EU's potential action against the Boeing-McDonnell
"The stand of the European Union is unacceptable to us," the lawmakers
The House members, who signed a letter drafted by Rep. Jack Metcalf,
R-Wash., whose district includes Boeing's main plants, also criticized
the EU's proposal that Boeing divest itself of McDonnell's commercial
"It is inappropriate to risk U.S. jobs because the free market worked
its will," they wrote, defending the merger on grounds that Untied
States must reduce the size of its defense industrial base.
"Because of the large defense business that will be conducted by the
Boeing Co., any action by the European Community is an infringement on
the sovereign rights of the United States to provide for U.S. national
security," the lawmakers wrote.
The pending European action could ban the American aviation giants from
doing business in the 15-nation European Union and confront them with
fines of up to $4 billion.
"There's an orderly process for our handling this, and I think we had
better let the orderly process play itself out before we talk ourselves
into a trade war," Clinton said when asked about the dispute.
While the FTC approved the $15 billion merger, an antitrust committee at
European Union headquarters in Brussels recommended last week that the
deal be rejected as an economic threat to Europe.
The Europeans fear a Boeing-McDonnell Douglas combination could threaten
the survival of Airbus Industrie, a European consortium and rival in the
global airplane market. European rejection of the deal could keep the
proposed company out of Europe's profitable aviation market.
(22 Jul 1997 14:04 EDT)
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