US chief hints at 'tariffs reverse' in Bombardier dispute

US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross has held out the prospect of a reversal of tariffs in Bombardier's CSeries jet programme dispute with Boeing
Gary McDonald Business Editor

CRIPPLING import tariffs on Bombardier's CSeries jets which are threatening thousands of jobs in Belfast, where the plane's wings are made, could yet be lifted, a senior Donald Trump aide claimed yesterday.

US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, on a five-day visit to London, said there were "political sensitivities" around the trade dispute between Bombardier and Boeing, but all parties "have to play by the rules".

But he hinted that the decision to impose a whopping 300 per cent tariff on the aircraft can still be reversed, which would come as a relief to the 1,000 of Bombardier's 5,000 workers who work directly on the CSeries and another 20,000 in Northern Ireland who benefit from the supply chain.

Mr Ross - who has separately become embroiled in the so-called Paradise Papers scandal because of his alleged business links to Russian figures who are currently under US sanctions - has held out the prospect that Airbus's acquisition of a 50.1 per cent stake in the CSeries programme could have an impact on reversing the tariffs.

However, the Unite union claims the remarks "offer no comfort whatsoever" and has urged Mr Ross to fly to Belfast in the coming days to discuss the issue directly with workers' representatives.

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