Belfast Telegraph

Coveney tells US jet tariffs dispute could impact peace in Northern Ireland

By John Mulgrew

The Bombardier-Boeing trade row could damage the peace process as well as hit jobs and the wider Northern Ireland economy, Ireland's Foreign Minister has warned a senior US official.

In a preliminary ruling last week, the US Department of Commerce imposed a 220% tariff on Bombardier's new C Series jets following a complaint by Boeing that its Canadian rival had received State subsidies.

The C Series wings are built in east Belfast, where thousands of jobs are now at risk.

Simon Coveney told US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross that he should "consider fully the significance of the case for the security of the economy in Northern Ireland, which is an essential support to the peace process".

He was speaking to Mr Ross during the start of a two-day visit to the States.

The tarrif decision could potentially scupper a multi-billion pound deal Bombardier has with US carrier Delta.

"Given that Bombardier is, by some distance, the largest manufacturer and private sector employer in Northern Ireland, the adverse impact on the economy in Northern Ireland would be pronounced," Mr Coveney said.

Later today the US Department of Commerce is also due to rule on whether it believes 'dumping' - selling of the C Series at a cut price or below cost - took place.

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprise (ISME) Association has urged the EU to step in to help resolve the transatlantic trade row.

ISME chief executive Neil McDonnell warned the EU not to wait until the US trade commission rules on the Department of Commerce decision next year before intervening.

Meanwhile, rival Brazilian planemaker Embraer has lent its support to a complaint to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) about Bombardier.

The WTO opened a panel last week - the initial stage of dispute resolution - after Brazil made a complaint about the alleged subsidies to Bombardier.

Chief executive of Embraer Commercial Aviation, John Slattery, said he believed the US preliminary ruling "validates" Brazil's position at the WTO.

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