The U.S. Department of Commerce has clobbered aerospace giant Bombardier with a hefty 219 per cent preliminary countervailing duty on the sale of its CS100 commercial jets to a U.S. airline following a trade complaint from an American rival.
Boeing had recommended a heavy tariff on the C Series, paid by Delta or any USA airline importing the aircraft in what would be considered a major blow to Bombardier and its ability to establish the new jet in the world's largest aviation market.
The UK government and trade unions fear the ruling could put the jobs of 4,100 staff in Northern Ireland at risk.
When the jet order was announced a year ago, Delta said Boeing didn't offer a jet in the 100- to 110-seat category that it wanted.
"I would say that that long-term partnership is being undermined by this behaviour by Boeing".
It's now up to the International Trade Commission to make a final decision next year.
We are pleased to work with our partners, including the British government, and provide such a vote of confidence in the UK.
She said her party would use its influence in government to protect the jobs.
Noel Gibson, who has worked at the Bombardier factory in East Belfast for 27 years, fears for the future of jobs.
"The Prime Minister has conveyed a clear message to the US President on two occasions as to the significance of the Bombardier case to Northern Ireland and to the workers who are employed here".
"They are going to apply for other defence contracts, and this type of attitude could clearly endanger our relationship", threatened Mr. Fallon.
Mrs May has lobbied US President Donald Trump over the dispute, and raised it in talks with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on a visit there last week.
The decision in favour of Boeing's allegations of anti-competitive pricing poses a direct and very serious threat to the 4,500 Bombardier jobs in Belfast and many more dependent on them across our service sector and in the wider supply chain.
"The US values its relationships with Canada, but even our closest allies must play by the rules", said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in explaining the move. On that matter, Boeing is seeking duties of about 80 percent.
Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster, on whom May relies for her parliamentary majority in Westminster, also said that the U.S. move to impose steep tariffs was "very disappointing".
The UK government has contracts with the American aerospace firm in the hundreds of millions of pounds.
The Canadian company said Boeing was seeking to use USA trade laws "to stifle competition".
"The decision by the US Department of Commerce represents a challenge to the Northern Ireland economy and places an important driver of regional economic growth at risk".
"The magnitude of the proposed duty is absurd and divorced from the reality about the financing of multibillion-dollar aircraft programs".
GMB national officer, Ross Murdoch described the decision as a "hammer blow to Belfast" and accused Ms May of being "asleep at the wheel when she could and should have been fighting to protect these workers".
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