Belfast Telegraph

US Department of Commerce upholds 300% tariff on Bombardier C-Series imports

Airbus deal will not circumvent tariffs

By Margaret Canning and Jonathan Bell

The US Department of Commerce has upheld a decision to impose tariffs totalling almost 300% on American imports of Bombardier’s C Series jet, which is part-made in Belfast.

The department issued preliminary findings in September, imposing tariffs of 300% on imports of the jet after a complaint from rival manufacturer Boeing that Bombardier received unfair subsidies.

Wednesday's ruling represented a slight decrease, down from 299% to 292%.

Boeing complained over the sale of up to 75 C Series jets from Delta Airlines in the US.

But Canadian company Bombardier then announced a tie-in with European aviation giant Airbus, meaning that the narrow-bodied C Series passenger jet would be assembled in the US and so, it was hoped, would not be classed as an import.  

Now the department has issued its final determination on Bombardier, which employs 4,000 people in Northern Ireland. Around 25% of the workforce carries out manufacture of the C Series wings. Bombardier has said its Belfast operations were crucial to the 125-seater passenger jet's success.

On Wednesday US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said a £5billion deal to sell the Bombardier planes to American airline Delta was 79.82% less than fair value and Canada was providing unfair subsidies a rate of 212.39%.

“This decision is based on a full and unbiased review of the facts in an open and transparent process.” said Secretary Ross. “The United States is committed to a free, fair, and reciprocal trade and will always stand up for American workers and companies being harmed by unfair imports."

The ruling on Wednesday notes that Bombardier and Airbus have struck a deal to build the C-Series in America, although it has not been finalised. However, it states that the tariff will apply to aircraft regardless of whether they are imported or part-assembled in the US ending hopes the arrangement could circumvent the charges.

However, the decision on introducing the tariffs will not be finalised until the US International Trade Commission determines Boeing was harmed by the subsidies and the price dumping.

It has heard evidence from Bombardier and Boeing in its investigation and will rule on the matter in February.

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