LONDON: Thousands of jobs in Northern Ireland appear to have been saved after plane maker Bombardier won a legal battle in the US that has overturned damaging import tariffs on its C-series aircraft.
On Friday the US International Trade Commission (ITC) voted unanimously against Boeing in favour of its Canadian rival Bombardier after Donald Trump’s administration had threatened to impose duties of 292%.
Boeing had complained to US authorities that the C-series jets were being sold to the US airline Delta below their production cost and had been given illegal subsidies from the UK and Canadian governments. But the commission voted 4-0 in favour of Bombardier against Boeing, which had raised a complaint about the Canadian manufacturer receiving state subsidies.
Boeing had won a ruling in the US that resulted in the imposition of the tariff on Bombardier’s jets, which were built for a number of US airlines.
“We are extremely proud of our employees, investors and suppliers, who have worked together to bring this remarkable aircraft to the market. With this matter behind us, we are moving full speed ahead with finalising our partnership with Airbus.
“Integration planning is going well and we look forward to delivering the C-series to the US market so that US airlines and the US flying public can enjoy the many benefits of this remarkable aircraft.”
After the ITC’s decision May said: “I welcome this decision, which is good news for British industry.”
Business secretary Greg Clark added: “The decision by the International Trade Commission confirms what the UK and Canadian governments working hand in hand has maintained from the outset, that this case is unjustified.”
The Unite union in Northern Ireland said on Friday night that workers were “jubilant” over the ruling. Steve Turner, a Unite assistant general secretary, said the victory was a result of political pressure arising from the trade union movement’s campaign to save thousands of jobs in Belfast, where Bombardier builds the wings for the C-series jets.