Northern Ireland news

Bombardier: Theresa May raises job loss fears with Donald Trump

British Prime Minister Theresa May met US President Donald Trump at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. Picture by Evan Vucci, Associated Press
Staff Reporter

THERESA May has raised concerns about possible job losses at aircraft manufacturer Bombardier in Belfast with US President Donald Trump.

There are fears thousands of jobs could be lost at the Canadian company's plant in the east of the city as it faces trade tariffs of 292 per cent on its passenger jets amid a trade dispute with American rival Boeing.

The government has been accused of not doing enough to fight for jobs at the plant after a BBC Spotlight programme revealed it only submitted a four-page legal argument to the US commission responsible for ruling on the tariffs.

The International Trade Commission is due to rule today if Boeing has been harmed by subsidies to Bombardier.

Downing Street said Mrs May raised her concerns about Bombardier during talks with US President Donald Trump at the World Economic Forum in Swiss ski resort Davos.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "The two leaders began by discussing Bombardier, with the PM reiterating the importance of the company's jobs in Northern Ireland."

The spokesman said President Trump is set to visit the UK later this year. He and Mrs May have asked their officials to work on finalising details of the visit.

Their talks also took in the Middle East and Brexit, Downing Street said.

"The two leaders reiterated their desire for a strong trading relationship post-Brexit, which would be in the interests of both countries," the spokesman said.

Any visit by Mr Trump is expected to attract protests and concerns about the level of opposition is thought to have been one of the reasons why it has taken so long for a trip to take place.

Mrs May extended an invitation for a state visit - officially on behalf of the Queen - when she became the first foreign leader to visit the Trump White House in January 2017.

A planned trip to open a new US embassy in London would have been a lower-key official visit but Mr Trump cancelled it, publicly blaming a poor financial deal for the property.

Brexit has heightened the importance of the UK-US "special relationship", with the prospect of a transatlantic trade deal a major goal for Mrs May.

Mr Trump said he expects a "tremendous" increase in trade with the UK as a result of talks which he said were getting under way.

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