Published: Tue, September 12, 2017
Business | By Max Garcia

British PM May asks Trump to help over Boeing's Bombardier challenge

British PM May asks Trump to help over Boeing's Bombardier challenge

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.

A US ruling against Bombardier this month over punitive tariffs for the aircrafts would be devastating news for the Belfast plant, where some 4,500 people are employed.

The phone call stems from a dispute between Canadian aerospace and transportation company Bombardier and US aircraft manufacturer Boeing.

The source, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation, said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and British counterpart Theresa May would meet in Ottawa on September 18.

Theresa May phoned Donald Trump to ask for a personal intervention on a trade dispute threatening thousands of jobs in Belfast after pressure from DUP leader Arlene Foster, it was claimed today.

Boeing say Canadian aerospace company Bombardier have received unfair state support, including a £130million loan from the British government for its new C-series plane.

Britain has already begged Boeing to drop the case after Business Secretary Greg Clark met with Boeing's chairman and chief executive in Chicago.

May raised the issue with Trump in a call this month.

Asked by a lawmaker in parliament whether the government would stand firmly behind Bombardier, Claire Perry, Minister for Climate Change and Industry, said: "It is vitally important that we have this dispute settled and we create the environment for many manufacturing companies in this vital sector to thrive and grow".

USA giant Boeing has accused Bombardier, of getting an unfair amount of support from the state - which includes a massive £113 million (US$150 million) loan from the British government for its new C-series plane.

A government spokesperson said it was working to safeguard Bombardier's operations and its workers in Belfast.

"The engagement at governmental level with Boeing and with the US has been significant over the course of the summer because this is pivotal to the Northern Ireland economy", DUP lawmaker Gavin Robinson told the Irish national broadcaster RTE.

May is likely to find it hard to convince Trump, who has made "America First" a theme of his administration, to get one of the titans of USA industry to back off from defending what it views as its trade rights.

Boeing said Tuesday it prefers to "let the process play out".

"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 U.S., and our aerospace industry".

Bombardier called the allegations absurd.

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