USITC ruling major victory for Bombardier workers

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Bombardier Inc. can start shipping C Series jets to Delta Air Lines Inc. as scheduled after a surprise ruling by a USA trade tribunal that said the proposed imports won't hurt American industry.

The International Trade Commission ruled last night that the U.S. government can not impose crippling tariffs on imports of C Series jets, to the delight of thousands of workers in Belfast who build the aircraft's wings.

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), a quasi-judicial federal agency that directs action by the United States against unfair trade practices, ruled Friday that U.S. giant Boeing Co. and the wider American aerospace industry were not injured or could not be injured, by Bombardier C Series imports into the United States.

The Commerce Department had imposed a almost 300% tariff after finding in a case initiated by Boeing that Bombardier's pricing of the 100- to 150-seat jets amounted to "dumping" of goods well below cost. "The C-series is now ready for takeoff".

But the ITC found no evidence that Boeing suffered any injury as a result of Atlanta-based Delta Airlines' order of the C-Series passenger jets.

The ruling came as a surprise to trade experts, who were largely anticipating an outcome in favour of Boeing. Delta (DAL), which is the only US airline to purchase the C series, also praised the decision.

"This ruling will help maintain thousands of jobs in Canada, the United States and Quebec".

A US agency voted 4-0 to reject proposed duties on Bombardier's CSeries, dismissing Boeing's claim that it had been harmed by the sale of jets at low prices to Delta Air Lines.

The dispute forced Bombardier into the arms of Boeing's chief rival Airbus.

"While we disagree with the ITC's conclusion today, we will review the commission's more detailed opinions in full as they are released in the coming days".

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The dispute centered around claims by rival U.S. firm Boeing that Bombardier received unfair state subsidies from the United Kingdom and Canada - allowing it to sell airliners at below cost prices in the US.

A U.S. trade body is due to make its final ruling on the Bombardier aircraft imports dispute, which could threaten around 1,000 jobs at its Belfast plant.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May said it was "good news" for UK industry.

Bombardier also welcomed the ITC's ruling, calling it "a victory for innovation, competition and the rule of law".

Politicians and union leaders have welcomed a ruling which stops the USA imposing huge 292% import tariffs on planes partly made by British workers.

Under a deal with Airbus, which sees the European aircraft maker take a majority stake in the C Series program, C Series planes destined for the US market will be assembled in Alabama.

Boeing's claim, however, was weaker than those cases.

Bombardier is one of Canada's largest employers with more than 24,000 workers across Canada, with an estimated 40,000 spin-off jobs at its suppliers.

"I hope that the matter is now closed and that the company can secure the future of the C-Series, and by extension the workforce in their new partnership with Airbus".

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