Theresa May plays down talk of UK-US trade war over Bombardier aircraft tariffs
However, the Prime Minister also warns of “creeping protectionism” around the world.
Talk of a trade war between the UK and US stemming from an American ruling to impose huge tariffs on aircraft partially built in Northern Ireland has been down-played by Theresa May.
However, in remarks that could be seen as a veiled rebuke of the US stance, the Prime Minister warned of “creeping protectionism” around the world.
Mrs May side-stepped directly answering a question about the prospects of Britain engaging in a tit-for-tat trade war with the US, saying: “On the wider issue, I think that there is a real challenge for us globally today because I think there are aspects of protectionism creeping in around the world.
“I want the UK to be a global champion of free trade because I think those of us who believe in free trade need to stand up and not just explain its wider benefits, but help to explain its benefits to individuals.”
Speaking at a conference to mark 20 years since the Bank of England was granted operational independence, the PM repeated her criticism of US aerospace giant Boeing after the company complained to US authorities over state subsides paid to Canadian manufacturer Bombardier by the UK and Canada.
It is hard to believe Theresa May would be gambling major damage to the entire UK economy by threatening the nuclear option of a trade 1/2— John Woodcock (@JWoodcockMP) September 28, 2017
2/3 ..war with the US over Bombardier were her weak government not dependent on the DUP for survival. Even if Trump does rethink this crazy— John Woodcock (@JWoodcockMP) September 28, 2017
3/3 tariffs, what will the prime minister's tough talking to prop up her DUP deal do for the chances of a good US trade deal post-Brexit?— John Woodcock (@JWoodcockMP) September 28, 2017
Its petition resulted in a ruling by the US Department of Commerce that could potentially have a devastating impact on Bombardier’s 4,200 workforce in Northern Ireland and thousands more in the 800-plus UK and Irish companies involved in its supply chain.
The department has proposed a 220% tariff on the imported sale of Bombardier’s new C-Series jets into the US – an aircraft whose wings are made in Belfast.
Mrs May said Boeing’s stance ‘undermined’ its long term partnership with the Government.