This Week: Bombardier tariff decision, record tourist figures
The upcoming business events: US authorities to decide on aircraft tariffs; CSO to confirm record tourism year
Proposed US tariffs pose an existential threat to Bombardier’s Belfast operation, the union Unite says. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images
Indicators: euro-zone inflation (Nov); UK industrial trends orders (Dec); United States housing market index (Dec).
Results: FedEx, Micron Technology.
Indicators: euro-zone labour cost index (Q3), wage growth (Q3), construction output (Oct).
Meetings: US department of commerce final decision on proposed Bombardier C series aircraft tariffs expected.
Earlier this year, Bombardier workers arrived outside the houses of parliament in London wearing white branded T-shirts and clutching a large red banner demanding political defence of “jobs, skills and communities”.
It was part of an ongoing demonstration by employees and their trade union Unite, concerned about potential job losses following a controversial US decision to impose trade tariffs on the Bombardier C Series airliner sold in the US. Parts of the aircraft are produced in Belfast.
The US department of commerce wants to impose tariffs totalling 300 per cent on every one of them and a final decision on that potential hammer blow to the Northern Ireland plant, which employs more than 4,200 people, is expected on Tuesday.
Unite believes the proposed tariffs – which followed a complaint from rival manufacturer Boeing that Bombardier had infringed US trade laws – to be unfounded and yet pose a significant existential threat to the Canadian group’s Belfast operation.
A union delegation busied itself with opposing the move by visiting Montreal to meet Bombardier chief executive Alain Bellemare as well as senior Canadian politicians and trade union officials. This was to be followed by a trip to Washington DC.
“If the US government imposes tariffs and Boeing’s bullying wins the day, it will damage Bombardier and destroy UK jobs,” warned Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner, leading the mission.
“It will also threaten thousands of jobs in Bombardier and its supply chain in the USA.”
Results: General Mills.
Indicators: euro-zone current account (Oct); German producer price index (Nov); US mortgage applications and rates (Dec), home sales (Nov).
Indicators: Irish overseas travel (Sep-Nov), wholesale price index (Nov), assets and liabilities of the financial sector (2016); euro-zone consumer confidence flash (Dec); UK public sector net borrowing (Nov); US GDP (Q3), corporate profits (Q3).
There aren’t many sectors in Irish life that the long arm of Brexit will fail to reach and tourism has already felt its chilling effects. The depreciation in sterling, in particular, has dampened the desire of UK travellers – traditionally Ireland’s strongest market – to cross the Irish Sea.
Still, the situation is being addressed and latest Central Statistics Office figures on travel, released on Thursday, are expected to confirm 2017 as another record year in visitor numbers.
If there is an industry that can prove life beyond Brexit exists, then it is this one. Tourism Ireland, the organisation charged with attracting visitors, says this year should even surpass all previous records, and follows on the back of a number of positive years.
“We have seen growth from all our main markets around the world – with the exception of Britain – with record numbers arriving here from North America, mainland Europe, Australia and developing markets,” the body said.
“The fall in the value of sterling has made holidays and short breaks here more expensive for British visitors and has made Britain more affordable for visitors from many of our top markets.”
Next year, Tourism Ireland plans to put a greater focus on what it calls Ireland’s “culturally curious” audience, less affected by currency fluctuations. However, it maintains its mantra that competitiveness and value for money remain more important factors than ever in the UK.
By the end of the year, almost 4.7 million British visitors will have travelled to the island during 2017. However, in terms of revenue, North America and mainland Europe are now ahead.
Indicators: UK GDP (Q3), business investment (Q3); German consumer confidence (Jan); US personal income and spending (Nov).