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Relief as Boeing drops Bombardier trade battle


Gavin Robinson

Gavin Robinson

Gavin Robinson

A decision by aircraft giant Boeing not to appeal a US trade ruling in favour of Bombardier - which employs around 4,000 people here - has been welcomed in Northern Ireland.

Boeing had complained about Canadian aerospace firm Bombardier's selling of its C Series jets, the wings of which are made in Belfast, to Delta Airlines.

The US manufacturer claimed that they were being sold at below cost-price and that the firm was receiving unfair state aid.

The US Department of Commerce had previously recommended a near 300% duty on sale of the C Series jets for five years, putting around 1,000 jobs at risk at Bombardier's east Belfast wings factory. But the International Trade Commission (ITC) in the US ruled against Boeing and voted in favour of Bombardier in January.

DUP East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson welcomed an announcement by Boeing that it would not be appealing the ITC ruling.

"This announcement is great news for Bombardier and brings an end to this long and difficult saga.

"The US trade commission ruling came as a surprise to many, but the decisive, unanimous decision obviously sent out a very clear message.

"Boeing should feel suitably chastened that their bullying approach was justly and robustly rejected.

"I know the company are focused now on building on recent orders for the C Series and bringing more of these fantastic aircraft into service.

"For my part, I will continue to encourage government to support manufacturing and particularly our aviation sector in Northern Ireland."

A spokesman for Bombardier said: "Boeing's claim was meritless and should never have been brought.

"We are happy that it has come to an end.

"This is good news for the whole aerospace industry and the flying public, which will benefit from the most innovative commercial aircraft built in the last 30 years."

Jackie Pollock, regional secretary at trade union Unite - which led a campaign against Boeing's actions - said the company's announcement made it "very unlikely" that US President Donald Trump would now intervene to overturn the ITC decision.

Mr Pollock, who played a leading role in that campaign, welcomed Boeing's statement that it would not appeal the International Trade Commission decision against the tariffs.

"In effect this means that we have seen off the Boeing-inspired threat to Bombardier jobs from the imposition of punitive US protectionist tariffs."

Belfast Telegraph