May and Trudeau discuss Bombardier crisis

Subsidies dispute expected to dominate visit by British prime minister to Canada

 The Bombardier  plant in Belfast. The Canadian aerospace giant confirmed 95 redundancies in the North as part of its global restructuring programme. Photograph:  PA Wire

The Bombardier plant in Belfast. The Canadian aerospace giant confirmed 95 redundancies in the North as part of its global restructuring programme. Photograph: PA Wire

 

A trade row between Boeing and Bombardier which could threaten thousands of jobs in the North is expected to dominate an official visit by the British prime minister to Canada on Monday.

Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, will welcome Theresa May to Ottawa against the backdrop of an escalating row over government subsidies and Bombardier’s C-Series aircraft family.

Bombardier has received significant financial support from both the Canadian and British governments to develop the C-Series aircraft. Boeing claims various government subsidies have enabled the aerospace group to sell its C-Series aircraft in the US below the cost of production.

Boeing’s accusations sparked an anti-dumping and anti-subsidies investigation by the US department of commerce this year. A provisional decision from this investigation is expected on September 25th.

Bombardier has vigorously refuted Boeing’s allegations.

Mr Trudeau has also defended the financial support Bombardier has received from the government, and strongly criticised Boeing’s stance recently, describing it as “unfair and aggressive”.

The US investigation has alarmed not only the UK and Canadian governments, but also trade unions and the international markets, particularly in light of President Donald Trump’s “America first” policy.

Mrs May personally brought the issue to the attention of the US president, phoning him to emphasise the key role that Bombardier, which employs around 4,500 people, plays in the Northern Ireland economy.

Last week the Canadian aerospace giant confirmed 95 redundancies in the North as part of its global restructuring programme, unconnected to the Boeing dispute.