UK and Ireland concerned about impact of Boeing-Bombardier dispute

Delta has signed up for 125 of the new C Series

The programme is not just important to Bombardier jobs in Belfast, but also 15 smaller aerospace firms in Northern Ireland - and dozens more across the United Kingdom - which make components for the wings.

With rail operations undersized and Boeing prompting the USA jet penalties, Bombardier chief executive officer Alain Bellemare has fresh hurdles as he tries to turn around the company and end reliance on financial support from Quebec and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's federal government.

"Subsidisation of goods by foreign governments is something that the Trump administration takes very seriously", says secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross.

Tuesday's preliminary ruling is only the first step along what could be a long road for the dispute, which has already become an worldwide dogfight. There´s still a chance the tariffs could be averted if USITC sides with Bombardier.

The dispute stems from a 2016 Delta order from the Montreal-based air and rail giant for as many as 125 C Series aircraft.

That includes threatening to cancel the planned purchase of 18 of Boeing's Super Hornet fighter jets to temporarily augment Canada's aging fleet of CF-18s, although the government has said it wants to keep talking to Boeing even after Tuesday's decision.

The row came after Boeing accused Bombardier, a big competitor, of dumping its C-Series jets on the aviation market. That's not accurate, said Delta.

The CSeries starts at $79.5 million, according to list prices, but carriers usually receive discounts of about 50 percent.

The DoC has carried out its own investigation and said it had made a preliminary determination that imports should be subject to a 219.63% import tariff, although it will continue to evaluate the figure.

Bombardier officials did not immediately respond to what effect the ruling will have in Wichita, where it manufactures Learjet business jets, flight tests all the company's aircraft including the C Series, and services all manner of Bombardier business jets.

"The magnitude of the proposed duty is absurd and divorced from the reality about the financing of multibillion-dollar aircraft programs". Canada "strongly disagrees" with the US probes into its aircraft, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement.

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The tariffs create "a level playing field in the aerospace market", said another rival, Brazil's Embraer (EMBR3.SA), which welcomed the move.

"The government will continue to work with the company to protect vital jobs for Northern Ireland", Mrs.

"The decision by the US Department of Commerce represents a challenge to the Northern Ireland economy and places an important driver of regional economic growth at risk".

"The decision taken by the US Department of Commerce was not unexpected - unfortunately it is unlikely to be overturned by President Trump whose protectionist tendencies are well-known".

Bombardier employs 4,200 people in aeronautics in Northern Ireland, centred around a Belfast factory that builds the CSeries wings and fuselage.

Theresa May has twice lobbied US President Donald Trump on the matter and met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ahead of the ruling.

The ruling was also said to potentially jeopardise a £4.15bn deal between Bombardier and USA airline Delta that would see the former supply the latter with 125 new jets.

The Northern Ireland Executive and UK Government pledged to invest nearly £135m in the establishment of the C-Series manufacturing site.

The MP for Kent region Sevenoaks, also stated that while Boeing was a significant United Kingdom partner and employer, "we would prefer this kind of issue to be settled on a negotiated basis". "Boeing's fixation with Bombardier could potentially put hundreds of hardworking people out of work, along with many more in associated roles". Boeing has complained the 110-to-130 seat aircraft were dumped below cost in the USA market past year while benefiting from unfair subsidies. Each CS100 jet has a list price of almost $80 million.

Delta is taking the smaller CS100 model of the plane.

"Boeing's petition is threatening these", Freeland said.

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