Boe­ing walks away from talks

Packet & Times (Orillia) - - BUSINESS - LEE BERTHI­AUME

OT­TAWA — Boe­ing walked away from talks with Cana­dian of­fi­cials aimed at re­solv­ing the Amer­i­can aero­space com­pany’s trade dis­pute with Mon­treal-based Bom­bardier, Canada’s am­bas­sador to the U.S. said Tues­day.

Am­bas­sador David MacNaughton said the of­fi­cials wanted to know why Boe­ing was pick­ing a fight with Bom­bardier, since the two are not di­rect com­peti­tors.

Boe­ing has ac­cused Bom­bardier of sell­ing its CSeries pas­sen­ger lin­ers to U.S.-based Delta Air­lines at an un­fairly low price with help from govern­ment sub­si­dies in Canada.

Speak­ing in St. John’s, N.L., where fed­eral min­is­ters are hold­ing a cabi­net re­treat, MacNaughton said the two sides of­fered a num­ber of pro­pos­als for re­solv­ing the dis­pute, be­fore Boe­ing broke off talks.

“We had some pro­pos­als back and forth and then they walked away,” the am­bas­sador said. “For what­ever rea­son, they de­cided they weren’t go­ing to con­tinue to have dis­cus­sions with us.”

A se­nior Boe­ing of­fi­cial said this month the firm was con­cerned that Bom­bardier’s deal with Delta could hurt its long-term pros­per­ity and that of the en­tire aero­space sec­tor.

MacNaughton’s com­ments are the first rev­e­la­tion that the govern­ment has spo­ken di­rectly with Boe­ing about the dis­pute, which has be­come a flash­point for the Lib­er­als.

They also come as me­dia re­ports say Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May, who will visit Canada next week, de­fended Bom­bardier dur­ing a re­cent call with U.S. President Don­ald Trump.

A se­nior govern­ment of­fi­cial speak­ing on back­ground con­firmed May’s planned visit on Sept. 18 and that the dis­pute be­tween Bom­bardier and Boe­ing is ex­pected to be raised. Bom­bardier has a large aero­space fa­cil­ity in Belfast, the cap­i­tal of North­ern Ire­land, and sev­eral op­er­a­tions in other parts of the U.K. as well.

The U.S. Com­merce De­part­ment is in­ves­ti­gat­ing Boe­ing’s com­plaint and pre­lim­i­nary find­ings are ex­pected to be re­leased on Sept. 25. The de­ci­sion could lead to fines or tar­iffs against Bom­bardier.

The Lib­eral govern­ment has linked the trade dis­pute to its plan to pur­chase Su­per Hor­net fighter jets by threat­en­ing to walk away from the deal if Boe­ing doesn’t drop the case.

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