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United States slaps new import duty on Canada's Bombardier jetliners

United States slaps new import duty on Canada's Bombardier jetliners

Canadian-owned multinational Bombardier, which employs more than 4,000 people in Belfast, has been hit by a proposed 80% levy on exports to its southern neighbour, the US Department of Commerce has confirmed.

The decision falls in line with US President Donald Trump's "America First" push and further strains the already rattled US trade relations with the United Kingdom, where the C-Series jets are made.

The new duty follows a preliminary finding that Bombardier sold 75 CSeries jets below cost to Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N) in 2016.

Bombardier said it was "confident that the investments and contribution programs mentioned in Brazil's petition are in full compliance with all WTO and worldwide trade rules".

As for the preliminary decision, published last week, Friday, is a response to the complaint filed by Boeing in the month of April on the sale of CSeries aircraft to Delta past year.

But whether or not Bombardier's jets will face import duties of 300 percent, Boeing may have lost a major sale in Canada.

The Commerce Department proposed a 79.82 percent antidumping duty on Friday, on top of a 219.63 percent duty for subsidies announced last week.

It says Boeing can't justify its claim of being harmed since it doesn't make a plane the size of the CS100.

Delta, which reports earnings next week, has said it is confident the proposed tariffs will be rejected because no US companies produce aircraft the same size as the Bombardier jet.

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Bombardier said the complaint can not be justified because Boeing did not have a plane that matched the Delta specifications when the bid was awarded to the Canadian aircraft manufacturer in 2016.

"The United States is committed to free, fair and reciprocal trade with Canada, but this is not our idea of a properly functioning trading relationship", said USA commerce secretary Wilbur Ross.

"We will continue to verify the accuracy of this decision, while do everything in our power to stand up for American companies and their workers".

Bombardier disputed that saying "Commerce's statement that Bombardier is not cooperating with the investigation is a disingenuous attempt to distract from the agency's misguided focus on hypothetical production costs and sales prices for aircraft that will be imported into the United States far in the future".

"These tribunals are like the right arm of the large corporations of Boeing", said Dave Chartrand, Quebec co-ordinator of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

The alleged unfair subsidy arose after Northern Ireland's power-sharing administration and the United Kingdom government pledged to invest nearly £135m in the establishment of the C-Series manufacturing site in Belfast. The program is expected to generate more than US$30 billion in business over its life and support more than 22,700 American jobs in 19 states.

Boeing's complaint said it was seeking a "level playing field" for global competitors, but Bombardier accused its rival of hypocrisy.

Champagne warned that "there will be consequences" - essentially repeating Trudeau's threat to cancel the planned purchase of the Super Hornets.

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