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British minister seeks to address concerns over Bombardier trade dispute

12 September, 2017, 19:44 | Author: Jeff Stephens
  • David MacNaughton

Boeing has complained to the USA authorities that Bombardier's deal to supply 125 CSeries passenger jets to U.S. airline Delta was unfairly subsidised by the Canadian state.

Bombardier is the largest manufacturing employer in Northern Ireland, where May's Conservative government holds key seats.

"He'll be aware of Boeing's attempts to stop the contract which will add 30 million United States dollars to every plane (coming into) CSeries in Belfast".

The prime minister called Donald Trump last week to seek his help in persuading Boeing to drop a complaint against Bombardier, which could cost 4,500 jobs at the company's plant in Belfast.

U.S. President Donald Trump (R) speaks to Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May during in a working dinner meeting at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters during a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit of heads of state and government in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017.

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Rival aircraft firm Boeing has complained to the U.S. authorities that the deal was unfairly subsidised by the Canadian state.

Boeing also alleges Bombardier engaged in "price dumping" by agreeing to sell 75 of their planes for almost £10.6m ($14m) below their cost price.

A US trade court is due to give a preliminary ruling on Boeing's complaint on September 25.

The fact Downing Street has become involved demonstrates the level of concern over the impact an adverse ruling by the US Department of Commerce against Bombardier could have on the future of the Northern Ireland factory.

"This is the normal course of action for addressing instances where a competitor is selling into the USA market below cost, and we will let the process play out", it added.

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Bombardier described the allegations as "absurd" and maintained that the government investments "comply with the laws and regulations in the jurisdictions where we do business", the BBC reported.

"Boeing's petition is an unfounded assault on airlines, the traveling public and further innovation in aerospace", a Bombardier spokesman said.

'Our priority is to encourage Boeing to drop its case and seek a negotiated settlement with Bombardier'.

They said that ministers across the government have communicated with Boeing, Bombardier and the USA and Canadian governments.

"It is in everyone's interests that we safeguard Bombardier's operations and the highly skilled workers that it has in Belfast".

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