Belfast Telegraph

Westminster committee to investigate threat to Bombardier jobs over Boeing feud

By John Mulgrew

A Westminster committee is set to examine the threat to thousands of Bombardier workers in Northern Ireland amid a trade dispute with giant Boeing.

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has launched a new inquiry into Bombardier — which employs more than 4,000 workers here — after the US government imposed a provisional 300% duty on sales of its C Series planes to America.

Airbus is now taking a majority stake in the Canadian company’s C Series aircraft. Thousands of Northern Ireland jobs looked to be at risk after a complaint from rival Boeing resulted in the US administration imposing a provisional 300% tariff on each of the aircraft sold there, potentially scuppering a multi-billion pound deal with Delta Air Lines for up to 125 jets.

The tie-up with Airbus is an attempt to flout the tariffs, and get around paying the hugely damaging duties.

Now, the fresh inquiry will “examine the security of jobs at Bombardier, and other Northern Ireland firms further down the supply chain, should the tariffs be imposed”.

“It will assess the UK Government’s role... how their involvement in providing financial support led to initial claims of subsidising production... how they can influence future developments given the involvement of three multi-national aerospace manufacturers and three other national governments.”

It will also “investigate the capacity of the employment infrastructure and wider economy in Northern Ireland to cope with redundancies at Bombardier, or other large employers”.

Committee chairman, Dr Andrew Murrison MP, said:

“Reports of a deal between Bombardier and Airbus have lifted the heavy gloom that hung over one of Northern Ireland’s major providers of high-tech, high-quality jobs.

“It is great news. However, the potential impact of tariffs remains unclear. Given the huge importance of Bombardier in the Northern Ireland economy, it is right that we use this time to assess where we are with it, how it's position can be strengthened further and the wider impact on the region should job losses occur.

“We must better understand the circumstances that led to this situation. As the UK is about to embark on a series of trade negotiations, most notably with the EU and US, we should identify how well major employers in Northern Ireland are prepared to handle trade disputes.

“In this respect, I look forward to working with colleagues in the International Trade Committee who have a shared interest in this field.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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