Unite accuses ministers of betraying Bombardier workers in tariffs row

Violet Powell
October 8, 2017

The Commerce Department imposed a preliminary import duty of 80 per cent on Bombardier C Series aircraft based on its finding, according to an emailed statement on Friday.

In a statement, Boeing said the Department of Commerce had "affirmed the magnitude to which Bombardier has dumped C Series aircraft in the United States, selling those aircraft at prices millions below production cost in an illegal effort to grab market share in the USA single-aisle airplane market".

The wings for the new aircraft, which are due to be delivered to the USA next year, are made at Bombardier's plant in the DUP stronghold of East Belfast.

Boeing complained to the American government about Bombardier earlier this year after the Montreal-based company secured a deal to sell CSeries planes to Delta airlines last year.

A final decision is expected next year.

"These duties are the outcome of a conscious decision by Bombardier to violate trade law and dump their CSeries aircraft to secure a sale", Chicago-based Boeing said in a statement.

Bombardier is already facing a 220% tariff on a new model of passenger jet as part of a separate investigation into claims from U.S. firm Boeing (NYSE: BA - news) that it received unfair state subsidies from the United Kingdom and Canada. But Delta has said Boeing did not even make the 100-seat jets it needed.

Mr Turner said: "This latest threat of additional tariffs by the USA government, raising to 300% the tariffs imposed so far, highlights an impotence on behalf of a UK Government whose ministers through their inaction appear happy to put Trump's "America first" policy ahead of UK manufacturing jobs".

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Bombardier said the complaint can not be justified because Boeing did not have a plane that matched the Delta specifications when the bid was awarded to the Canadian aircraft manufacturer in 2016.

"The United States is committed to a free trade, fair and reciprocal with Canada, but this does not correspond to our idea of a business relationship which is working properly", said the secretary of Commerce, and Wilbur Ross.

"We will continue to verify the accuracy of this decision, while do everything in our power to stand up for American companies and their workers".

A Bombardier union said it wasn't surprised by the new duty given the 48 per cent increase in the number of dumping allegations since the Trump administration took office. It was an order of 75 aircraft worth more than U.S. $5 billion.

Boeing alleges the unfair subsidy stems from when Northern Ireland's power-sharing administration and the UK Government pledged to invest almost £135m to help set up a C-Series manufacturing site in Belfast.

All aerospace manufacturers, including Boeing, discount new models, Bombardier spokeswoman Nathalie Siphengphet said, adding that the United States company's "hypocrisy is appalling".

Champagne warned that "there will be consequences" - essentially repeating Trudeau's threat to cancel the planned purchase of the Super Hornets.

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