Home news Bombardier row: Govt hits out at Boeing

Bombardier row: Govt hits out at Boeing

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Boeing’s dispute with a rival aerospace firm that threatens thousands of jobs in Northern Ireland is “unjustified” and “damaging”, the British Government has said.

The US has hit Canadian firm Bombardier with a punitive import duty of nearly 220% on a new model of passenger jet, the wings for which are made in Northern Ireland.

Bombardier, which employs more than 4,000 people in Belfast and contributes an estimated £400m to the Northern Ireland economy, said the C-Series jet was “critical” to its operations there.
:: Bombardier ruling risks thousands of Belfast jobs
One union described the ruling as a “hammer blow”, while Prime Minister Theresa May said she was “bitterly disappointed”.

Bitterly disappointed by initial Bombardier ruling. 1/2
— UK Prime Minister (@Number10gov) September 27, 2017

The Government will continue to work with the company to protect vital jobs for Northern Ireland. 2/2
— UK Prime Minister (@Number10gov) September 27, 2017

The dispute between the two rival companies centres around claims from US firm Boeing that Bombardier received unfair state subsidies from the UK and Canada, allowing it to sell airliners at below cost prices in the US.
Announcing the US Department of Commerce’s initial finding coming down on the side of Boeing, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said the subsidisation of goods by foreign governments was something the Trump administration “takes very seriously”.
A final ruling is expected to be made in February.
:: How the battle for our skies landed in Belfast
A UK Government spokeswoman said the initial finding was “only the first step in the process”.

“As the Prime Minister said last week, we will continue to strongly defend UK interests in support of Bombardier at the very highest level because an adverse outcome risks jobs and livelihoods among the 4,200 skilled workers in Belfast,” she said.

Image: More than 4,000 people are employed in Belfast by Bombardier
“Boeing’s position in this case is unjustified and frankly not what we would expect of a long-term partner to the UK – as well as damaging the wider global aerospace industry.”
Mrs May has lobbied US President Donald Trump over the dispute, and raised it in talks with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on a visit there last week.
Bombardier labelled the decision “absurd” and said Boeing was guilty of hypocrisy.
But the US aerospace giant said the row “had nothing to do with limiting innovation or competition” but was about “maintaining a level playing field and ensuring that aerospace companies abide by trade agreements”.

Image: The dispute centres around claims Bombardier received unfair state subsidies
Unions accused Mrs May of being “asleep at the wheel” on the dispute, saying the preliminary finding was “unlikely” to be overturned by Mr Trump.
Ross Murdoch, the GMB union’s national officer, said it was a “hammer blow” to Belfast and could have wider ramifications.
On top of the 4,000 people directly employed at Bombardier’s plant, Mr Murdoch warned another 9,400 supply chain jobs could be wiped out.
DUP leader Arlene Foster – whose 10 MPs are propping up Mrs May’s minority government – said: “Everyone realises how important Bombardier is to Northern Ireland and we will use our influence with our government to make sure that continues.”

Source: SKY