May asks Trump to step in over Boeing and Bombardier dispute

LONDON • UK Prime Minister Theresa May (picture) asked US President Donald Trump to intervene in a court dispute between Boeing Co and Canada’s Bombardier Inc over state aid, her office said.

The request, made in a call with the president on Sept 5, came as her government seeks to protect jobs at a Bombardier plant in Belfast, Northern Ireland. May’s government relies on votes from Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to pass legislation through the House of Commons.

May raised the case with Trump after the intervention of DUP leader Arlene Foster, the Times of London newspaper reported, without saying where it got the information.

“Our priority is to encourage Boeing to drop its case and seek a negotiated settlement with Bombardier,” the UK Department for Business said in an emailed statement. “This is a commercial matter but the UK government is working tirelessly to safeguard Bombardier’s operations and its highly skilled workers in Belfast.”

Boeing is pressing the US International Trade Commission to impose tariffs against its Canadian competitor over sales of its C Series Jets at “absurdly low prices” while receiving unfair government support, including a £113 million (RM627.03 million) loan from the British government. The commission ruled in June that Boeing may have been harmed by sales of C Series aircraft at less than fair value.

Boeing said in a statement that it is seeking to restore “a level playing field” in the US single-aisle airplane market. — Bloomberg