The US Commerce Department on Thursday gave its go-ahead to an anti-dumping investigation into Boeing’s claims regarding the pricing of Canadian rival Bombardier’s small single-aisle jet, which could result in hefty tariffs and damage its appeal to the US market.
Commerce Department officials said on Thursday that the investigation would determine whether imports of 100- to 150-seat civil aircraft were being unfairly dumped and if Canadian producers were being unfairly subsidised.
The probe follows an April 27 petition filed by Boeing in a preemptive move targetting planned imports that could be worth more than $5bn, the department said.
US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said:
The U.S. market is the most open in the world, but we must take action if our rules are being broken. While assuring the case is decided strictly on a full and fair assessment of the facts, we will do everything in our power to stand up for American companies and their workers.
If dumping or unfair subsidies are established through the investigation, US trade officials could hit those imports with duties in the amount of the harm found.
Bombardier spokesman Mike Nadolski said that Boeing’s action would threaten thousands of US jobs, since more than half of each of the C Series aircraft in question are sourced from American suppliers. He added:
“We believe that fair competition drives innovation. This innovative spirit has fueled Bombardier’s success over many decades and enabled us to create the C Series aircraft, which is more comfortable, reliable, fuel efficient, and environmentally friendly than anything else in the market.
As this process moves forward, we will continue to engage with industry leaders, government officials, and the public to demonstrate how we designed and built a state-of-the-art aircraft while honoring our obligations under the laws of international trade.”
The move comes amid heightened trade tensions between the US and Canada over products including dairy and lumber. US President Donald Trump has vowed to use trade policies to more aggressively protect American economic interests.
Boeing said in a statement:
“Boeing welcomes today’s decision by the US Department of Commerce to investigate Bombardier’s illegal and unfair business practices that pose significant harm to America’s aerospace industry and thousands of good-paying aerospace jobs.”