April 17, 2018 11:58 am
Updated: April 17, 2018 12:03 pm

WTO panel rules against Canada in preliminary ruling in C Series dispute

A Bombardier CSeries aircraft is pictured during a news conference to announce a partnership between Airbus and Bombardier on the C Series aircraft programme, in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, October 17, 2017.

Regis Duvignau /Reuters
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A World Trade Organization panel is moving ahead with its review of Brazil’s complaint that Bombardier Inc.’s C Series is receiving unfair subsidies after throwing out a key Canadian argument.

The panel ruled against Canada’s objection that it look at four programs including Ottawa’s supercluster plan that were not included in its original complaint.

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Brazilian aerospace rival Embraer S.A. launched the trade dispute last year alleging Bombardier and its suppliers have received more than $3.7 billion (US$3 billion) in subsidies, which it claims have hurt its aviation industry.

It argues the government subsidies have allowed Bombardier to sell the C Series at artificially low prices that distort the global market and harm competitors.

Canada had argued that Brazil’s request to include the additional programs broadened the scope of the dispute beyond the original request for consultations.

However, the WTO ruled that they were within the terms of reference of the panel.

The WTO also rejected an argument by Canada that Brazil didn’t identify specific measures in regard to its concerns about several other programs.

Joseph Pickerill, spokesman for International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, said Canada was disappointed the panel did not uphold its claim.

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“This is just a preliminary stage in the broader WTO dispute and Canada will continue to participate fully in the WTO proceedings,” Pickerill said in a statement.

Bombardier’s aerospace rival has eaten away at its leadership in regional jets and is developing an updated offering to partially compete with the C Series.

The WTO established a dispute settlement panel in September, a month after consultations with Canada failed to resolve Brazil’s complaint that government subsidies for the C Series are inconsistent with Canada’s WTO obligations.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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