Canada links fighter jet deal to Boeing’s dumping claims » Manila Bulletin Business



by Reuters

Seattle – Canada suggested on Thursday it could scrap plans to buy Boeing Co fighter jets if the United States backed Boeing’s claims that Canadian plane maker Bombardier, Inc. dumped jetliners in the US market.

“Canada is reviewing current military procurement that relates to Boeing,” Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement.

Shareholders line up to view Bombardier’s CS300 aircraft following their annual general meeting in Mirabel, Quebec, Canada April 29, 2016. (Reuters file photo | Manila Bulletin)

Canada “strongly disagrees” with the US Commerce Department decision to investigate Boeing’s claims that Bombardier sold planes below cost in the United States and benefited unfairly from Canadian government subsidies, the statement added.

The remarks came after the US Commerce Department launched an investigation into Boeing’s claims, and pointed to the potential for rising trade tension between the two countries. Boeing and Canada are in talks over the purchase of 18 Boeing Super Hornet fighters this year or in early 2018.

President Donald Trump has called for a strong stronger stance on trade with his “America First” policy that got a boost on Thursday when Commerce formally announced its intent to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. The Commerce probe in Boeing’s case, which was expected, parallels a probe by the US International Trade Commission (USITC) into Boeing’s allegations that Bombardier sold 75 CSeries planes to Delta Air Lines, Inc. last year at a price well below cost. Bombardier has rejected the allegations and the two sides clashed at an ITC hearing on Thursday on whether the companies’ competing plane models are even comparable.

“While assuring the case is decided strictly on a full and fair assessment of the facts, we will do everything in our power to stand up for American companies and their workers,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.

The Commerce investigation was announced as USITC staff heard arguments on Thursday from representatives for Boeing, Bombardier and Delta Air Lines, Inc., which has sided with Bombardier against Boeing.

The former head of Boeing’s commercial aircraft unit told the panel that government subsidies for Bombardier allowed the Canadian company to sell small, 100- to 150-seat jet liners at prices Boeing could not match.

“It is untenable for us to continue competing with government subsidized competitors” Boeing Vice Chairman Raymond L. Conner said. “Bombardier is very close to forcing us out of (the 100- to 150-seat market) altogether.”

Bombardier representative Peter Lichtenbaum countered that Boeing’s claims were overblown.

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