Aircraft manufacturer Bombardier has won its case against plans for huge tariffs on its US imports which had put thousands of jobs at risk in Northern Ireland.
In a surprise decision, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled in favour of Bombardier over American firm Boeing, which claimed its rival received unfair state subsidies from the UK and Canada.
The decision blocks US government proposals to slap 292% tariffs on Bombardier C-Series passenger planes, which risked thousands of jobs in Northern Ireland where the jets’ wings are made.
Bombardier, which employs more than 4,000 people in Belfast and contributes an estimated £400m to the Northern Ireland economy, said the C-Series jets were “critical” to its operations there.
Sky News’ Ireland Correspondent David Blevins said the ruling “lifts the cloud completely for the 1,000 employees who feared for their jobs”.
He added: “East Belfast – where the jobs were at risk – is a DUP constituency and the Prime Minister had raised this issue with President Trump on several occasions.”
The ruling comes after Theresa May met US president Donald Trump at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday.
The Prime Minister said: “I welcome this decision, which is good news for British industry. Bombardier and its innovative workforce play a vital role in the Northern Ireland economy.”
In a statement, Bombardier said the ITC’s decision was a “victory for innovation, competition, and the rule of law”.
Image: Bombardier employs 4,000 people in Belfast
“The C-Series is the most innovative and efficient new aircraft in a generation,” it said.
“Its development and production represent thousands of jobs in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.”
Steve Turner, Unite assistant general secretary, said Bombardier workers in Northern Ireland would be “breathing a huge sigh of relief” after the ITC had “seen through Boeing’s baseless complaint”.
“There can be no backsliding from the US government on this decision,” he said.
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Airbus took a majority stake in Bombardier’s C-series passenger jet programme in October last year, which was hoped would help the jet programme overcome the tariff ruling.
Airbus boss Tom Enders said the company had offered to assemble some of the planes at its plant in Alabama for orders by American carriers.