Canadian PM warns Bombardier tariffs could block UK Boeing deals
The Prime Minister is set to come under pressure over buying defence equipment from US company Boeing after the Canadian premier told Donald Trump his protectionist tariffs levied against Bombardier imports was a “block” to future deals.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met the US President at the White House yesterday to discuss the US government’s 300% tariff on Canadian planemaker Bombardier’s C Series jets.
Boeing alleges Bombardier — which employs more than 4,000 workers here — has been selling off its C Series jets, which are part-made in Belfast, for below cost. The passenger plane’s wings are made in Belfast, and the protectionist tariffs has led to major concern over jobs here.
After his meeting with President Trump in the Oval Office, Mr Trudeau said the tariffs would be a block to his country making any military procurements from Boeing.
“We feel that this is not something that is warranted, and quite frankly something that we look at very negatively upon,” he said.
“I certainly mentioned that this was a block to us making any military procurements from Boeing.”
The move will put Theresa May under pressure to follow suit, after criticism from Labour that the Government was prepared to sacrifice Bombardier jobs in Belfast to help strike a trade deal with the US after Brexit.
Meanwhile, the boss of US airline Delta said it is “not going to be forced to pay” the huge tariffs which could scupper a multi-billion pound deal it has with Bombardier.
The carrier’s chief executive Ed Bastian was speaking as Bombardier workers and Unite union representatives met Business Secretary Greg Clark in London yesterday.
Following the meeting, Unite said there must be “action, not words” over the dispute with Boeing.
Earlier in the day, members displayed a large banner stating “back Bombardier” outside Westminster.
Delta boss Ed Bastian has said his airline is “not going to be forced to pay tariffs or anything of the ilk”.
“It was very disappointing. It was a preliminary ruling, not the final stages ruling. We are at the early stages of negotiation as to where that is going to go,” he told CNBC.
He said the Bombardier C Series is an innovative product bringing a 100-seat aircraft to market, with no comparable models made by challenger Boeing.
Speaking after the meeting with Greg Clark in London, Davy Thompson, Unite regional co-ordinating officer, told the Belfast Telegraph: “We reiterated our position, that we don’t think the government has been strong enough in the condemnation of Boeing.”
Mr Thompson said there was “no real progress” as to what the government has already said, in terms of trying to negotiate with the US government and Boeing to try and resolve the dispute.
He added: “They are saying that they are doing everything they can, in reference to every office in the US.
“We were saying that it hasn’t borne any fruit... they need to step up to the plate.”