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Boeing rebuffs claim it is 'suing Canada'

A U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet jet piloted by LCDR Jamie R. Struck approaches the USS Gerald R. Ford to make the first landing using the AAG arrested landing system in the Atlantic Ocean July 28, 2017. (U.S. Navy/Erik Hildebrandt/Handout)

U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing is pushing back after some strong comments from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

On Monday, during trade talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May, Trudeau took a strong stance against supporting Boeing if it continued to engage in its takedown of Bombardier.

“We have obviously been looking at the Super Hornet aircraft from Boeing as a potential significant procurement of our new fighter jets,” Trudeau said from Ottawa.

“But we won’t do business with a company that’s busy trying to sue us and trying to put our aerospace workers out of business.”

The Quebec-based Bombardier received a $372.5-million federal loan earlier this year, along with $1 billion from the province, when it ran into financial hardship.

Boeing responds

In a statement shared by the Ottawa CitizenBoeing made its stance on the matter very clear:

“Boeing is not suing Canada.

“This is a commercial dispute with Bombardier, which has sold its C Series airplane in the United States at absurdly low prices, in violation of U.S. and global trade laws.

“Bombardier has sold airplanes in the U.S. for millions of dollars less than it has sold them in Canada, and millions of dollars less than it costs Bombardier to build them.

“This is a classic case of dumping, made possible by a major injection of public funds. This violation of trade law is the only issue at stake at the US Department of Commerce.

“We like competition. It makes us better. And Bombardier can sell its aircraft anywhere in the world. But competition and sales must respect globally-accepted trade law. We are simply using laws that have been on the books for decades and subjecting them to a fair hearing based on the facts.”

Bombardier fires back

Not to be outdone, Bombardier replied to Boeing’s statement in a note titled ‘Boeing’s Hypocrisy:’

“Bombardier shares Boeing’s commitment to a level playing field, but in this case, they were not even on the field.

“Delta ordered the C Series because Boeing stopped making an aircraft of the size Delta needed years ago.  It is pure hypocrisy for Boeing to say that the C Series launch pricing is a “violation of global trade law” when Boeing does the same for its new aircraft.

“Boeing’s self-serving actions threaten thousands of aerospace jobs around the world, including thousands of U.K and U.S. jobs and billions of purchases from the many U.K. and U.S. suppliers who build components for the C Series.

“The U.S. government should reject Boeing’s attempt to tilt the playing field in its favor and impose an indirect tax on the U.S. flying public through unjustified import tariffs.”

Where the fight began

Boeing has accused of Bombardier of selling its CSeries passenger jets to U.S. airline Delta Airlines at an unfairly low price with help from government subsidies, and says the case affects its long-term economic health.

The U.S. Commerce Department is currently investigating the complaint, and is expected to release its preliminary findings next week and a finding against Bombardier could result in fines or tariffs.

The federal government and Boeing had been in secret talks to try to find a negotiated settlement, but those discussions broke down in August. Since then, the dispute has escalated publicly and in dramatic fashion.

With files from The Canadian Press