Joint DUP-SF letter to US Vice President over Bombardier dispute

Michelle O’Neill left Sinn Féin’s leader in Northern Ireland and Arlene Foster of the DUP have written jointly to Mike Pence

A senior Boeing official told The Canadian Press this month the firm was concerned that Bombardier's deal with Delta could hurt its long-term prosperity and that of the entire aerospace sector.

May had a phone call with Trump last week in which she pleaded with the President to intervene in a legal battle between two rival aircraft manufacturers which threatens to destroy thousands of jobs in Northern Ireland.

The dispute includes the American aircraft builder Boeing, and its Canadian competitor Bombardier.

Canada initially planned to join the United States and several other allies in acquiring the Lockheed Martin-made F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, but Trudeau campaigned on not buying the stealth jet and holding a new competition for a replacement aircraft.

The Trudeau government revealed Tuesday that it held secret talks with Boeing in hopes of convincing the U.S. aerospace giant to drop its case against Bombardier at the U.S. Commerce Department. The decision could lead to fines or tariffs against Bombardier.

Tariffs could make it very hard for Bombardier to find new C-Series customers in the US.

She also plans to discuss the issue with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when they meet next week, a source close to the matter said.

The success of Mrs Foster is pushing Mrs May to raise trade issues with the President will alarm critics already anxious about the influence of the socially conservative Northern Irish party.

Boeing this year asked the U.S. Commerce Department to investigate alleged subsidies and unfair pricing at Bombardier, accusing it of having sold 75 of its CSeries medium-range airliners to Delta Air Lines at well below cost price.

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The Montreal-based company said Tuesday in a market update that regional aircraft between 60 and 100 seats are forecast to have 5,750 deliveries valued at US$240 billion.

"All we've said to Secretary Ross is that we would like to continue discussions, because we don't understand why they would be taking action on a case where [Boeing] wasn't even competing for the business".

'We believe that global trade only works if everyone plays by the same rules of the road, and that's a principle that ultimately creates the greatest value for Canada, the United Kingdom, the USA, and our aerospace industry'.

"It is in everyone's interests that we safeguard Bombardier's operations and the highly skilled workers that it has in Belfast".

The PM needs Boeing to back off because of pressure from leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Arlene Foster.

Strangford DUP MP Jim Shannon raised concerns about the future of the C-Series with Research and Innovation Minister, Jo Johnson.

In its market update, Bombardier said it believes its C Series planes will dominate routes up to 926 kilometres, while single-aisle planes up to 150 seats will allow airlines to add new direct routes where larger planes aren't economic.

Mr Johnson replied: "I can assure him that we are engaging very closely with the companies involved and will be following up on his point".

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