Bombardier, Boeing clash in trade hearing over ‘subsidized’ CSeries

May 18, 2017
by The Canadian Press

Bombardier, Boeing clash in trade hearing over ‘subsidized’ CSeries

The Canadian company signed a high-profile deal to sell 75 CS100 aircraft to the U.S.’s Delta Air Lines last year. PHOTO: Bombardier

WASHINGTON—The next potential Canada-U.S. trade dispute is unfolding today in a Washington, D.C., courtroom.

A U.S. aeronautics powerhouse is at a hearing arguing for duties on Bombardier aircraft.

Boeing says its Canadian-based rival receives subsidies that allow it to sell planes into the U.S. at below-market prices that hurt American competitors.

It has petitioned the U.S. Commerce Department and the U.S. International Trade Commission to investigate subsidies of Bombardier’s CSeries aircraft.

Boeing lawyers are arguing before the trade commission that Bombardier’s own words prove it was rescued financially by multibillion-dollar assistance from the Quebec government.

Bombardier representatives counter that its planes never competed with Boeing in a sale to Delta airlines which the American firm has complained about.

Bombardier lawyer Peter Lichtenbaum said the plaintiff is a global powerhouse that hasn’t lost any sales as a result of Bombardier, has an enviable order backlog and doesn’t even compete with Bombardier in the sales campaigns it’s complaining about.

“Boeing’s petition in this case is unprecedented in its overreach,” he said.

“If this is a case of David vs. Goliath, Boeing has cast itself in the wrong role.”

Boeing says the issue is a longer-term one.

It argues that Bombardier’s true goal is to grab half the U.S. market share for 100-to-150-seat aircraft and it is using its sale of cheap planes to Delta to build momentum.

Boeing vice-president Raymond Conner said that kind of growth could force his company out of that mid-size market and cost the company US$330 million a year in annual sales.

“If you don’t fix it now, it will be too late to do anything about it later,” Conner told the seven-member panel.

“What we want is competition that is fair. . . .

“You guys can fix this before it is too late. . . . Today we are at a critical moment.”