That's what Boeing CEO Phil Condit and Microsoft mogul Bill Gates, both of whom served on the host committee for Seattle's 1999 World Trade Organization talks, must be thinking now. Last week, a WTO panel found that multibillion dollar tax breaks granted to U.S. companies operating abroad are illegal subsidies. An Associated Press report singled out Boeing and Microsoft as the two most prominent (and generously compensated) beneficiaries of the U.S. law, which has three times been ruled a "prohibited export subsidy" by the WTO. The potential penalties are harsh: some $4 billion in sanctions that would significantly increase the European prices (and thus hurt the overseas sales) of Boeing and Microsoft products.
Say, you don't think those WTO folks are still sore about being roughed up by protestors, teargassed by cops, and chased out of town, do you?