May asks Trump to help broker deal in Bombardier dispute with Boeing

British Prime Minister Theresa May has asked US President Trump to help broker a deal in a bitter aerospace trade dispute which could financially devastate one of Northern Ireland's biggest employers.

Canadian aerospace giant Bombardier, which employs around 4,500 people in Belfast and accounts for 10% of the region's manufacturing exports, is facing significant costs in a spat with US aeronautics powerhouse Boeing.

The dispute centres over Boeing's allegations that Bombardier received subsidies allowing it to sell its CSeries planes at below-market prices. The US Department of Commerce is expected to announce a decision on whether to impose duties against Bombardier on September 25.

However, the UK Government has been actively lobbying in the US for a compromise between the two companies amid growing concern about the potential implications for Bombardier's Belfast operations.

It is understood that Ms May raised the matter with the US president in a phone call last week.

Business Secretary Greg Clark also recently travelled to Boeing's base in Chicago to discuss the potential impact of the dispute and Northern Ireland Secretary of State James Brokenshire has been involved in negotiations.

The fact Downing Street has become involved demonstrates the level of concern over the impact an adverse ruling by the US Department of Commerce against Bombardier could have on the future of the Northern Ireland factory.

Northern Ireland currently does not have its own functioning government. The Stormont Executive collapsed in January following a dispute between the two biggest parties, Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

Months of talks between the parties have failed to resolve the political crisis.

Around 1,000 of Bombardier's Belfast employees are involved in the making of the CSeries wings at the centre of the US-Canadian trade dispute.

Boeing filed a petition with the US International Trade Commission and the US Department of Commerce in April, alleging that massive subsidies from the Canadian government have allowed Bombardier to embark "on an aggressive campaign to dump its CSeries aircraft in the United States".

Bombardier has rejected Boeing's claims. Bombardier said the plaintiff is a global powerhouse that has not lost any sales as a result of Bombardier.


More in this Section

UK inflation surges to near six-year high of 3.1%

US stocks close modestly higher as S&P 500 and Dow Jones hit new high

Ryanair fails to get ‘screen scraping’ case fast-tracked

‘Strategic fund needed’ to boost Shannon passengers


Today's Stories

Too early to tell whether prices and wages will rise

Little room for hot air in energy debate

No secret to games success for 9th Impact

US tax plan could still prove to be Ireland’s undoing

Lifestyle

No wee feat: Daniel back in the charts with new album this Christmas

The League Of Gentlemen sketch troupe back on TV screens after 15 years

Get ready for the Jedi in latest Star Wars instalment

A heavy burden for such young shoulders caring for parents this Christmas

More From The Irish Examiner