The US Commerce Department yesterday backed Boeing in its challenge to Bombardier, recommending a large tariff on sales of the Canadian firm’s C Series jetliner.

The preliminary ruling by the International Trade Commission recommends a 219.63% tariff on the delivery of each airliner.

Boeing complained Bombardier got unfair state subsidies from the UK and Canada, helping it win a major order. Bombardier said it will fight the ruling.

Industry impact

A statement from Bombardier said: “We strongly disagree with the Commerce Department’s preliminary decision. The magnitude of the proposed duty is absurd and divorced from the reality about the financing of multi-billion-dollar aircraft programs. This result underscores what we have been saying for months: the US trade laws were never intended to be used in this manner, and Boeing is seeking to use a skewed process to stifle competition and prevent US airlines and their passengers from benefiting from the C Series.

“The simple truth is that Bombardier created a superior aircraft that is more efficient, more comfortable, and quieter. The C Series serves a market segment not supported by any US manufacturer. Delta wants to bring this remarkable new aircraft to the US flying public. Boeing wants to prevent US passengers from realising these benefits, irrespective of the harm that it would cause to the US aerospace industry and the cost to airlines and consumers.”

Long way to go

UK Prime Minister Theresa May said she is “bitterly disappointed” at the decision noting that Bombardier is one of Northern Ireland’s biggest employers. She said the government will work with the company to protect “vital jobs”.

ADS Chief Executive Paul Everitt commented: “This ruling is extremely disappointing and unsettling for Northern Ireland’s aerospace industry. However, it is a preliminary ruling and there is still a long way to go in this process.

“The UK Government must now work with the Canadian and US Governments to take all appropriate steps in the coming weeks and months to find an amicable resolution to this dispute, which is not in the interests of the global aerospace sector.

“Bombardier is an important part of the UK aerospace industry, and especially in Northern Ireland where it employs thousands of people.

“The company has high potential for future growth as demand for new aircraft remains high, and the Belfast site works with a supply chain of more than 800 companies in the UK and Ireland.”