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For Immediate Release Contact: Daniel Cruise, 202-482-3809

Tuesday, January 18, 2000 

  
U.S. to Initiate Formal Complaint Against EU On Hushkits

Washington, D.C. --Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade David L. Aaron and Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs, Alan P. Larson, will head to Montreal today to take the first step in filing a formal complaint over EU regulations that discriminate against U.S. aircraft equipment. 

Administration officials will meet with Dr. Assad Kotaite, President of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to discuss the U.S. decision to file a formal complaint against the EU. The complaint would be made under Article 84 of the Chicago Convention on Civil Aviation.

"We cannot allow the EU to take unilateral action while U.S. trade and aviation interests are being damaged," Ambassador Aaron said. "We've made repeated attempts to resolve this issue through bilateral channels to no avail, now we're going to exercise our rights in a multilateral setting."

The hushkit regulation is a stark departure from uniform, global aircraft noise standards developed in ICAO. Leaving the hushkit regulation unchallenged by the world's aviation standards-setting body could lead to a patch-work quilt of different regional and national standards in what is the quintessential global industry.

"The United States is committed to environmental protection, including achieving genuine relief from aircraft noise," Aaron said. "In ICAO, the United States is at the forefront of efforts to develop a new, stricter noise limit based on a performance standard. U.S. commitments to achieving this new standard will not be affected by the initiation of this dispute mediation mechanism."

Based on an arbitrary design and not performance standard, the hushkit regulation discriminates against U.S.-manufactured aircraft and aircraft engines. So far, the economic loss to the United States caused by the regulation is estimated at over $2 billion, according to industry. The EU regulation will not reduce aircraft noise and permits the continued operation of aircraft that are even noisier than those being restricted. 

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