UK warns Boeing it could lose defence contracts over Bombardier dispute

US has slapped 220 per cent tariff on jets built in Northern Ireland

The Bombardier-Boeing trade dispute is now threatening to affect the trade relations between London and Washington.

Just a day after US department of commerce (DoC) imposed preliminary tariffs of 220 per cent on the imports of Bombardier jets, British government has now warned aerospace giant Boeing that it could lose UK defence contracts.

Canadian jet maker Bombardier supports at least 4,000 jobs in Northern Ireland and with the latest tariff setback, those jobs are potentially at risk.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Theresa May had written on Twitter: “Bitterly disappointed by initial Bombardier ruling.

“The government will continue to work with the company to protect vital jobs for Northern Ireland.”

Following this, UK defence secretary Michael Fallon warned Boeing for the assault on Canadian jet maker and said that it “could jeopardise” its chances of securing government contracts.

The business secretary, Greg Clark, also joined the chorus when he called the steep tariff “unjustified” and vowed to work with the Canadian government to get the ruling overturned.

The US court decision is reportedly a huge blow for May, who has made trade relations with the US a key component of the UK’s trade strategy after Brexit.

Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster, on whom May relies for her parliamentary majority in Westminster, also said that the US move to impose steep tariffs was “very disappointing.”

She spoke about the economic significance of the Bombardier project to Northern Ireland and how there is a scope for an appeal and this ruling is not the end of the matter. 

Rival and aerospace giant Boeing had accused Bombardier in April saying that the Canadian jet maker was selling its C-Series jets at unfairly low prices in the US because of subsidies from the Canadian government.

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