Vital role of Bombardier in NI 'cannot be overstated'
The importance of plane-making giant Bombardier to Northern Ireland's economy "cannot be overstated" as its workforce here awaits an uncertain future amid a transatlantic trade dispute.
Boeing is claiming that Bombardier's C Series aircraft, part of which is made in Belfast, are being 'subsidised', in part, due to a $1bn bailout by the regional Quebec government in Canada.
If successful, the challenge could scupper a multi-billion deal with Delta for up to 125 aircraft.
The US's Department of Commerce is due to give a preliminary ruling on the case this week.
Stephen Kelly, chief executive of Manufacturing NI, said: "The importance of Bombardier to the NI manufacturing economy and jobs cannot be overstated.
"The firm represents around 10% of our total exports and about 40% of the direct manufacturing jobs in Belfast with its impacts on the wider manufacturing and supply chain being felt right across Northern Ireland."
He said Northern Ireland needs to be "active in growing our manufacturing sector to 20% of the local economy by attracting and building more of our own large manufacturers through securing cost competitiveness, reducing complexity and investing in skills".