Relief in Belfast as Boeing ends trade dispute with rival Bombardier

Boeing has put its trade dispute with Canadian rival Bombardier to bed, spelling relief for the thousands of workers in Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann
Gareth McKeown

AIRCRAFT manufacturer Boeing has put its trade dispute with Canadian rival Bombardier to bed, spelling relief for the thousands of workers in Belfast.

Boeing has decided not appeal the ruling of The US International Trade Commission (ITC), which saw the removal of restrictive import tariffs on Bombardier's C-Series jets.

The ITC unanimously voted in January to reject the US Commerce Department's recommendation to slap a 292 per cent duty on sales of the C-Series, the wings of which are made in Belfast. The recommendation stemmed from an initial complaint from Boeing, who claimed the aircraft had been unfairly subsidised by the Canadian government.

On Thursday a Boeing spokesperson confirmed the company will not be appealing the ITC ruling, but did not elaborate further.

East Belfast DUP MP Gavin Robinson welcomed the confirmation that Boeing will not appeal the ruling.

“This announcement is great news for Bombardier and brings an end to this long and difficult saga," he said.

"The ITC’s ruling came as a surprise to many, but the decisive, unanimous decision obviously sent out a very clear message. Boeing should feel suitably chastened that their bullying approach was justly and robustly rejected. I know the company are focused now on building on recent orders for the C Series and bringing more of these fantastic aircraft into service.”

In January the ITC ruled that Boeing did not suffer injury from Atlanta-based Delta Airlines’ order of Bombardier’s C Series passenger jets. At the time Bombardier described the decision as a "victory for innovation, competition, and the rule of law".

"It is also a victory for US airlines and the US travelling public. The C Series is the most innovative and efficient new aircraft in a generation Its development and production represent thousands of jobs in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom," a company statement read.

Last month Bombardier reported a 57 per cent rise in its most-watched measure of earnings in 2017, driven by improvement in both sales and margins,

The Canadian train and plane maker’s full-year earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation, grew over the year, from $427 million (£243.2m) to $672m (£382.8m).

Bombardier employs 4,000 staff in Northern Ireland, of which 1,000 work on the C-Series.

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