Canada first: United States trade panel unexpectedly rejects Boeing trade complaint

Chelsea West
January 28, 2018

Bombardier Inc.'s marquee jet, slapped with crushing USA tariffs past year, got a new lease on life when an American trade panel nixed the duties.

Rona Ambrose, member of the NAFTA Advisory Council, joins BNN to discuss the U.S. International Trade Commission's ruling against Boeing on its case against Bombardier's CSeries jets.

The vote effectively shelves two tariffs, totaling almost 300%, that the U.S. Commerce Department wanted to impose on Bombardier.

Chicago-based Boeing's decision to file a trade complaint against Bombardier was unusual, as it doesn't make a direct competitor to the 100-to-150 seat aircraft.

"While we disagree with the ITC's conclusion today, we will review the Commission's more detailed opinions in full as they are released in the coming days", Boeing said.

A US agency voted 4-0 to reject proposed duties on Bombardier's CSeries, dismissing Boeing's claim that it had been harmed by the sale of jets at low prices to Delta Air Lines.

Before the decision, Bombardier said it plans to go through with a partnership with Airbus to build CSeries at an assembly line in Mobile, Alabama, regardless of the commission decision.

In a final submission to the USITC, Bombardier said it expects Boeing will likely respond by filing a new petition once there is a new USA order for the C Series because it doesn't believe the Alabama line will be built.

As Reuters reports, U.S.

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"The ruling confirms the right of the Canadian and Quebec governments to engage in industrial policy to safeguard jobs and support high tech innovation", said Renaud Gagné, Unifor Quebec Director. The European plane maker agreed to take control of the C Series program as part of a deal that is expected to close later this year.

The airline said it is pleased by the ITC's ruling "rejecting Boeing's anti-competitive attempt to deny US airlines and the USA traveling public access to the state-of-the-art 110-seat CS100 aircraft when Boeing offers no viable alternative".

The trade dispute has spilled over to Boeing's customers.

In a statement, Mr. Ross said the ITC ruling "shows how robust our system of checks and balances is".

Those fees could only have been implemented if the trade panel concluded Boeing faced serious harm from the Bombardier imports - a claim the panel rejected Friday.

Cameron Doerksen of National Bank Financial said the evidence suggests that Boeing suffered no harm. Global trade is also expected to be a major topic of President Trump's speech at the Davos World Economic Forum amid fears the USA may spark a trade war and withdraw from Nafta. "It in no way should be interpreted as a broad-scale limitation on the Trump administration's trade enforcement authority".

Boeing continued to defend its position after the hearing, despite the overwhelming nature of the ruling.

The news sent the Canadian company's stock shooting up. It has also added to tensions between the USA and Canada, as the Trump administration seeks to renegotiate terms in the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.

"Today is a huge victory for one of Canada's most important industries and as a Bombardier employee I'm absolutely thrilled and dumbfounded that this decision actually came down".

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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