Airbus CSeries deal with Bombardier could boost Belfast jobs, UK minister says

Above, an employee inspects the engine of a C Series plane at Bombardier’s plant in Canada. (Reuters)
Updated 21 October 2017
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Airbus CSeries deal with Bombardier could boost Belfast jobs, UK minister says

LONDON/MONTREAL: A deal giving Airbus a controlling stake in Bombardier’s CSeries jets should lead to extra work for the Canadian planemaker’s factory in Northern Ireland, UK Business Secretary Greg Clark said on Friday after meeting with executives from both companies.
“We’ll have more detailed discussions as the deal progresses but there was great optimism that work generally for Belfast would increase,” said Clark in an interview at Bombardier’s plant in Montreal.
Airbus’ investment this week in the Montreal-based plane and train maker’s CSeries jets is expected to reduce costs and increase sales of the narrow-body jets.
It gives Bombardier a possible way out of a trade dispute with Boeing in which the US Commerce Department has threatened to impose 300 percent import duties, threatening thousands of jobs in Canada, the US and Northern Ireland.
Clark said he would expect work to increase at the Belfast plant because of the growth in sales.
“Obviously, if demand increases then some decisions will need to be taken as to where the future capacity can be located,” Clark said. “And I would expect Belfast to be a good contender for that.”
Bombardier makes the CSeries CS100 and CS300 carbon wings at a plant in Belfast.
Under the deal, Airbus would take a 50.01 percent stake in the CSeries and add an assembly line for the plane in Alabama. Thus it would be a US-made product and avoid anti-subsidy and anti-dumping duties.
Bombardier is the largest manufacturing employer in Northern Ireland, which is the poorest of the UK’s four nations and remains mired in political sensitivities after emerging from decades of armed sectarian conflict.
Clark and Northern Irish politicians had welcomed the Airbus deal and promised to work with the companies to protect the workforce in the province.


EU to respond to any US auto tariff move: report

Updated 23 June 2018
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EU to respond to any US auto tariff move: report

  • Trump threatened to impose 20 percent tariff
  • Shares in carmakers slip on trade war fears

PARIS: The European Union will respond to any US move to raise tariffs on cars made in the bloc, a senior European Commission official said, the latest comments in an escalating trade row.
US President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to impose a 20 percent tariff on all imports of EU-assembled cars, a month after his administration launched an investigation into whether auto imports posed a national security threat.
“If they decide to raise their import tariffs, we’ll have no choice, again, but to react,” EU Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen told French newspaper Le Monde.
“We don’t want to fight (over trade) in public via Twitter. We should end the escalation,” he said in the comments published on Saturday.
The European Autos Stocks Index fell on Friday after Trump’s tariff threat. Shares US carmakers Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. also dropped.
“If these Tariffs and Barriers are not soon broken down and removed, we will be placing a 20% Tariff on all of their cars coming into the US Build them here!” Trump tweeted.
The US Commerce Department has a deadline of February 2019 to investigate whether imports of automobiles and auto parts pose a risk to US national security.
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday the department aimed to wrap up the probe by late July or August. The Commerce Department plans to hold two days of public comments in July on its investigation of auto imports.
Trump has repeatedly singled out German auto imports to the United States for criticism.
Trump told carmakers at a meeting in the White House on May 11 that he was planning to impose tariffs of 20 or 25 percent on some imported vehicles and sharply criticized Germany’s automotive trade surplus with the United States.
The United States currently imposes a 2.5 percent tariff on imported passenger cars from the EU and a 25 percent tariff on imported pickup trucks. The EU imposes a 10 percent tariff on imported US cars.
The tariff proposal has drawn sharp condemnation from Republican lawmakers and business groups. A group representing major US and foreign automakers has said it is “confident that vehicle imports do not pose a national security risk.”
The US Chamber of Commerce said US auto production had doubled over the past decade, and said tariffs “would deal a staggering blow to the very industry it purports to protect and would threaten to ignite a global trade war.”
German automakers Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG and BMW AG build vehicles at plants in the United States. BMW is one of South Carolina’s largest employers, with more than 9,000 workers in the state.
The United States in 2017 accounted for about 15 percent of worldwide Mercedes-Benz and BMW brand sales. It accounts for 5 percent of Volkswagen’s VW brand sales and 12 percent of its Audi brand sales.