The European Union (EU) has called on the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to formally take up its complaint that Washington has not removed billions of dollars in illegal subsidies for US aerospace giant Boeing.

EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht said the US government had failed to implement an WTO ruling which barred the subsidies and discussions on the matter had not led to a solution.

Accordingly, the EU had no option but to press ahead with the dispute process, asking the WTO to set up a panel to examine the EU case.

"The United States' failure to end aircraft subsidies continues to cost European aerospace companies billions of euros in lost revenue," De Gucht said.

"By taking action today, the European Union continues to ensure that every one of our trading partners plays by the rules and that every effort is made to create a level playing field for European companies and workers," he said in a statement.

Airbus, Boeing's Europe-based archrival, welcomed the call by Brussels and accused Boeing of "cynically failing to respond in any way to the WTO panel's request".

Airbus said the WTO had found the subsidies to Boeing 'particularly pernicious', trade distorting and the cause of "significant harm to Airbus".

Last month, the EU lodged a request with the WTO, seeking clearance to impose $US12 billion ($11.78 billion) annually in counter-measures against Washington for its failure to remove the subsidies.

The EU said in the statement that the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) would meet on October 23 to address the issue.

AFP