Threat to Bombardier jobs in Belfast prompts May to phone Trump
(ShareCast News) - Prime Minister Theresa May phoned US President Donald Trump over lingering uncertainty about hundreds of jobs in Northern Ireland following a heated trade dispute between Boeing and Bombardier.
That followed a complaint from the US aerospace manufacturer, on 27 April 2017, about alleged unfair state subsidies for Canadian rival Bombardier and 'price-dumping' after the latter won a contract valued at £3.84bn, to supply up to 125 C-Series passenger jets to US carrier Delta, the BBC reported.
Commenting on the complaint and its impact, the US giant said: "Boeing had to take action as subsidized competition has hurt us now and will continue to hurt us for years to come, and we could not stand by given this clear case of illegal dumping."
"This is the normal course of action for addressing instances where a competitor is selling into the US market below cost, and we will let the process play out."
In response, a spokesperson for Bombardier told Sharecast that it "strongly disagrees with the assertions made by Boeing in its petition regarding the alleged threat caused by future exports of the C Series family of aircraft to the US."
"We are responding to the petition proceedings, and will not speculate on the impact on our Belfast site should the Boeing petition be successful," she said.
Wings for the C-Series are manufactured at Bombardier's Belfast plant, supporting hundreds of jobs there.
US authorities were due to take a decision later in September, which it was feared could result in punitive tariffs being brought against Bombardier, making it harder for the company to find new customers for its C-Series jets in the States.
According to the BBC, a spokesman said Westminister "is working tirelessly to safeguard Bombardier's operations and its highly skilled workers in Belfast."
The same spokesman reportedly added that "our priority is to encourage Boeing to drop its case and seek a negotiated settlement with Bombardier [...] Mrs May raised the issue and her concern to protect jobs in Northern Ireland in a call with President Donald Trump last week."
Previously, in February 2016, Bombardier announced 1,080 job losses at its five Northern Ireland, citing cost overruns and delays to the C-Series as a major factor.