Prime Minister Justin Trudeau put Donald Trump on notice over the aerospace spat between Boeing and Bombardier, saying if the U.S. president goes ahead with the nearly 300 per cent tariffs on Bombardier, it will “block” the Canadian Armed Forces from purchasing Boeing fighter jets.
Speaking at the Canadian Embassy in Washington on Wednesday, Trudeau said he warned Trump that if U.S. authorities slap the tariffs on imports of Bombardier C-Series aircrafts, it will prevent the Canadian government from purchasing new fighter jets from Boeing.
“I highlighted to the president how we disagree vehemently with commerce’s decision to bring in countervailing and anti-dumping duties against Bombardier, that we feel this is not something that is warranted and quite frankly something that we look very negatively upon,” Trudeau said following a bilateral meeting with Trump. “The attempt by Boeing to put tens of thousands of aerospace workers out of work across Canada is not something we look on positively and I certainly mentioned that this was a block to us purchasing, making any military procurements from Boeing.”
Last week, the U.S. Department of Commerce tacked on another 80 per cent of preliminary anti-dumping duties against Bombardier, adding to the nearly 220 per cent in preliminary countervailing tariffs added in September, on sales of CS100 commercials jets.
“I did point out that it’s unacceptable what the U.S. Department of Commerce and Boeing have decided with respect to Bombardier. I said it’s inconceivable that we would make military purchases of Boeing aircraft if Boeing continues to behave in that way,” Trudeau, speaking in French, said. “It wasn’t an easy conversation but it was an important conversation to have.”
Boeing revised its request for anti-dumping duties to 143 per cent from around 80 per cent because of Bombardier’s refusal to provide certain information to the Commerce Department.
The U.S. aerospace giant petitioned the government in April after its smaller rival secured a deal for up to 125 of its CS100s with Delta in 2016.
The department’s preliminary countervailing duty findings agreed with Boeing that Bombardier benefited from improper government subsidies, giving it an unfair advantage when selling its CSeries jets south of the border.
Bombardier is hoping the high duties won’t stand when the Department of Commerce announces its final ruling in December. The key decision likely won’t come, however, until the U.S. International Trade Commission decides whether the Bombardier-Delta deal actually hurt Boeing’s business, a decision that’s not expected until early February.
Boeing’s complaint has prompted a heavy political reaction from the Canadian government and British Prime Minister Theresa May, who fears job losses at Bombardier’s wing assembly facility in Northern Ireland.
Canada has threatened to cancel the planned purchase of 18 Super Hornets to temporarily augment Canada’s aging fleet of CF-18s.
–With files from the Canadian Press