Theresa May warns Boeing over Bombardier trade dispute

Aerospace giant says it is committed to the UK

Prime minister, Theresa May told US aerospace giant Boeing today that its behavior in a trade dispute with Bombardier was undermining its commercial relationship with Britain.

May’s response comes a day after the US department of commerce (DoC) imposed preliminary tariffs of 220 per cent on the imports of Bombardier jets, which are partly made in Belfast. This US ruling could pose a risk to the jobs of 4,200 people who work at the plant in North Ireland, the poorest of the UK regions.

“We have a long-term partnership with Boeing in various aspects of government and this is not the sort of behavior we expect from a long-term partner and it undermines that partnership,” May said while speaking at a Bank of England event today.

According to media reports, Boeing has said that it is committed to the United Kingdom and values its partnership.

Jimmy Kelly, the regional secretary of the union Unite, had earlier said: “Despite this blow, the Bombardier jobs can still be safeguarded. The UK government must now intervene to secure orders from British carriers for Bombardier aircraft, they should also immediately review all contracts with Boeing”.

The ruling is highly damaging to May, who reportedly relies on the support of 10 lawmakers from Northern Ireland to keep her party in power. Earlier this month, May had raised concerns about the possible implications of the ruling with the US President Donald Trump.

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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