Bombardier at risk of further US setback over ‘dumping’ claims

US department of commerce set to issue ruling following conclusion of investigation

Trade unions have warned that more than 4,000 jobs in the North could be at risk if the US department of commerce rules Bombardier is guilty of “dumping”. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Trade unions have warned that more than 4,000 jobs in the North could be at risk if the US department of commerce rules Bombardier is guilty of “dumping”. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

 

Bombardier Aerospace could face a new setback this week if the United States department of commerce decides it is guilty of “dumping” – selling its aircraft below what it deems less than fair value in the US.

The department is expected to deliver a decision on Thursday following an anti-dumping duty investigation which has been running concurrently with its countervailing duty (CVD) investigation into Bombardier following claims made by its rival Boeing.

Last week, secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the CVD investigation had concluded Bombardier was guilty of receiving government subsidies which had enabled it to subsidise the price of its C Series aircraft.

As a result the US intends to impose import duties of 220 per cent on all imports of Bombardier’s C Series aircraft into the US.

Trade unions in Northern Ireland have warned that the decision could jeopardise more than 4,000 jobs in the North because Bombardier’s Belfast plant manufactures the wings for the C Series aircraft.

The US department of commerce has not yet confirmed if it will rule on the anti-dumping duty investigation on Thursday, which could see the publication of the report delayed.

‘Fair value’

An anti-dumping duty investigation examines whether exporters are selling products in the US “at less than fair value” – one of the allegations levelled by Boeing against Bombardier.

The Canadian aerospace group has steadfastly rejected Boeing’s claims and has urged the US government to “reject” what it believes is an “attempt to unfairly tilt the playing field” in Boeing’s favour.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire warned in Belfast on Monday that Bombardier jobs were “vital” to the Northern Ireland economy.

Mr Brokenshire met Bombardier’s Northern Ireland chief executive, Michael Ryan, to discuss the ongoing situation with Boeing.

He said he had provided “assurance” to Mr Ryan of the UK government’s continuing commitment to protect Bombardier jobs and the livelihoods of their employees in the North against what he said was an “unjustified action by Boeing”.

“We will continue to work with the senior management at Bombardier, the trade unions and the workforce as well as with the Canadian and US governments to find a resolution,” he added.

The UK’s chancellor of the exchequer, Philip Hammond, also reaffirmed that the UK would lobby the US over the Bombardier decision, to protect the jobs in Belfast.

But he has also warned that “in the end this is a quasi-judicial decision where a citizen or a company makes a complaint and a government department adjudicates it”.