US slaps new 80pc duty on Bom­bardier

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE - An­drew Mayeda and Fred­eric Tomesco

THE US slapped du­ties on Bom­bardier’s show­case com­mer­cial jet for the sec­ond time in as many weeks on Fri­day, up­hold­ing Boe­ing’s case that its Cana­dian com­peti­tor sold planes at less than fair value.

The Com­merce Depart­ment im­posed a pre­lim­i­nary im­port duty of 80pc on Bom­bardier C Se­ries air­craft based on its find­ing, ac­cord­ing to an emailed state­ment. The agency ruled last week that the Mon­treal-based plane-maker, which in­vested more than Us$6bn (€5.1bn) to de­velop the all-new C Se­ries, ben­e­fited from un­fair sub­si­dies.

The sec­ond round of im­port du­ties marks the lat­est blow for Bom­bardier, which re­ceived fi­nan­cial sup­port from Que­bec and Canada as its big­gest jet came in two years late and about $2bn over bud­get. The rul­ing is also bound to stoke ten­sions be­tween the US and two key al­lies, Canada and the UK, which have ex­pressed dis­may with the Com­merce Depart­ment. Bom­bardier em­ploys over 4,000 work­ers at its east Belfast plants, and uses sup­pli­ers from around the is­land.

Both charges — last week’s 220pc coun­ter­vail­ing du­ties and Fri­day’s anti-dump­ing re­stric­tions — could be re­versed by the US In­ter­na­tional Trade Com­mis­sion if the tri­bunal con­cludes that Boe­ing wasn’t in­jured by Bom­bardier’s jet pro­gramme, a de­ci­sion ex­pected to be made next year. The Com­merce Depart­ment also still needs to is­sue a fi­nal rul­ing in both cases.

Cana­dian For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Chrys­tia Free­land said she was “ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed” in the lat­est US de­ci­sion, vow­ing to de­fend the coun­try’s aero­space in­dus­try against “ir­re­spon­si­ble and pro­tec­tion­ist trade mea­sures” that also hurt some US work­ers.

“These anti-dump­ing du­ties on Bom­bardier’s C Se­ries air­craft un­fairly tar­get Canada’s highly in­no­va­tive aero­space sec­tor and its more than 200,000 work­ers,” Free­land said. The mea­sures also “put at risk the al­most 23,000 US jobs that de­pend on Bom­bardier and its sup­pli­ers.”

The con­tro­versy is likely to hang over Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau’s trip to Wash­ing­ton this week, where he is sched­uled to dis­cuss trade with US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump just as negotiators hold the fourth round of talks to amend the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment. Trudeau has warned that his gov­ern­ment won’t buy Boe­ing mil­i­tary jets un­less the com­pany drops the case. Bloomberg

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