Canada sought to re­solve Boe­ing dis­putes at meet­ing

Oman Daily Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

OTTAWA/MON­TREAL: Canada last month at­tempted to end a deep­en­ing dis­pute with Boe­ing Co by sug­gest­ing it could with­draw a threat not to buy Su­per Hor­net jets if the US firm dropped a trade chal­lenge against Cana­dian plane­maker Bom­bardier Inc, three peo­ple with knowl­edge of the mat­ter said.

The in­for­mal pro­posal would have cre­ated an un­usual link be­tween trade and arms deals, which are typ­i­cally sep­a­rated in in­ter­na­tional ne­go­ti­a­tions, trade an­a­lysts said, and showed the lengths Canada is will­ing to go to pro­tect Bom­bardier jobs.

Ottawa froze talks on a planned pur­chase of 18 F-18 Su­per Hor­net jets for more than $5 bil­lion af­ter Boe­ing in April launched a trade chal­lenge ac­cus­ing Bom­bardier of dump­ing its new CSeries air­lin­ers into the US mar­ket.

Se­nior Canada govern­ment of­fi­cials and Boe­ing met last month to dis­cuss the dis­putes, of­fi­cials said.

One of the sources fa­mil­iar with the dis­cus­sions said Ottawa’s propo­si­tion to Boe­ing had been “if we re­solve the chal­lenge, that will al­low us to re­sume our dis­cus­sions on the F-18,” but said Boe­ing dis­missed the idea of link­ing the two dis­putes. Boe­ing walked away with none of the is­sues re­solved, Canada’s am­bas­sador to the United States told re­porters this week, with­out elab­o­rat­ing.

One in­dus­try source said Boe­ing sees the al­leged CSeries dump­ing as a long-term threat to its civil­ian air­liner business and has shown lit­tle in­ter­est in a com­pro­mise, even at the risk of los­ing the mil­i­tary con­tract.

“The Cana­dian govern­ment is try­ing to link the F-18 file with the Boe­ing-Bom­bardier dis­pute.

The po­si­tion of Boe­ing and the US govern­ment is that they are not linked,” said a sec­ond source di­rectly fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter.

The of­fice of Cana­dian For­eign Min­is­ter Chrys­tia Free­land, who has over­all re­spon­si­bil­ity for re­la­tions with the United States, said it could not con­firm the sources’ ac­count.

Time is run­ning out for Canada to end the dis­pute. The US Depart­ment of Com­merce is due to hand down its ini­tial rul­ing on Septem­ber 26 on whether to im­pose coun­ter­vail­ing du­ties on the CSeries, a de­ci­sion that could dampen air­lines’ de­mand for the 110-130 seat jets in the key US mar­ket.

That de­ci­sion could also boost Boe­ing’s lever­age in any fu­ture talks with Canada, though the duty would only po­ten­tially ap­ply af­ter a fi­nal rul­ing by the US In­ter­na­tional Trade Com­mis­sion (ITC) in 2018.

Bom­bardier spokesman Mike Nadol­ski said on Friday the com­pany is fo­cused on the 2018 rul­ing and noted Boe­ing did not take part in the Delta com­pe­ti­tion that the CSeries won. “It’s re­ally hard to see how they are harmed,” he said in an e-mail.

— Reuters

Vis­i­tors look at mod­els of Boe­ing air­crafts at the Avi­a­tion Expo China, in Bei­jing.

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