On Wednesday, 27th September 2017, the British government issued a statement to American aircraft fabricator Boeing, forewarning them of impending loss of government contracts as a result of their role in the ongoing Bombardier tariff dispute, which could mean job insecurity for about 4,200 employees in Northern Island.
The conflict arose due to the imposition of a 220% duty on Tuesday, 26th September by the United States Department of Commerce on the importation of Bombardier’s C-series jet wings from a manufacturing plant in Belfast to Canada. The duty was imposed after Bombardier’s competitors, Boeing, expressed their dissatisfaction and accused Canada of unjustly aiding Bombardier’s business via subsidies.
The decision to impose the tariff diminishes the guarantees of affluence and security, made by the British government to its citizens, which would be achieved through close ties with Washington following its departure from the European Union in 2019. It may also prove problematic for the UK’s minority Conservative government, as it depends on political assistance from Northern Ireland to remain in power.
Unanticipated Result and Actions
Britain’s Defense Secretary, Michael Fallon, said in a statement to reporters that Boeing’s unanticipated actions and conduct could be detrimental to future business dealings with the British government. He stated that Boeing should play their role in ensuring a longstanding alliance and that ongoing Boeing purchases would not be abandoned. He also suggested that Boeing would try to fix the situation with Britain since the American company has been sourcing for more business in the UK.
Northern Ireland is the most underprivileged part of the UK, and Bombardier is the biggest manufacturing employer in the region. British Prime Minister, Theresa May, also expressed her disappointment at the decision on Twitter, after she had implored US President Donald Trump to help find a solution to the problem. She also stated that the British government, together with Bombardier would keep pushing to ensure job security in the Northern Ireland region.
Boeing has shown no indication of willingness to compromise on the issue but issued a statement declaring loyalty to Britain.