British Business Secretary Greg Clark is travelling to Canada on Friday to hold talks regarding a deal in which Airbus SE will buy a majority stake in Bombardier’s C-series jetliner program. The Airbus-Bombardier program is aimed at avoiding high US import taxes.
Clark is set to meet some Canadian officials and executives coming from the two manufacturers, according to a spokeswoman for the ministry for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy.
The partnership will give Bombardier a way out of a controversial trade dispute over the Canadian jet-maker’s C-series jets with Boeing. The dispute caused Bombardier to receive threats of punitive tariffs, threatening thousands of jobs in Northern Ireland, which partly manufactures the jets.
The US Commerce Department stated that it would have to impose 300 percent import duties to Bombardier, and this has caused British Prime Minister Theresa May to warn a possible trade war between the United States and the United Kingdom.
Clark and other Northern Ireland politicians had been positive about the Airbus deal, promising to work hand-in-hand with the firms to protect the workforce that Bombardier employs in the region to make the C-series CS100 and CS300 high-end carbon wings at a plant in Belfast.
The Airbus SE Deal
As per the Airbus-Bombardier deal, Airbus will be acquiring more than 50 percent interest in C-Series Aircraft Limited Partnership. In exchange, it will have access to Airbus’ sales, logistics, procurement, and support expertise.
“Combining the C-series with Airbus’ global scale creates a remarkable business, and together we will take the C-series program to new heights,” said Bombardier chief executive Alain Bellemare, adding that Airbus is the perfect partner.
“Our partnership will accelerate the commercial success and it will ensure that the Airbus-Bombardier program comes into position to realize its full potential,” said Airbus chief executive Tom Enders, assuring that the deal was a “win-win for everybody.”
With this deal, Canada is set to be Airbus’ fifth home country, but first outside Europe.
“It is a sad day that high-tech Canadian treasure is ending up in European control, but we can take some satisfaction that the C-series is getting some needed stability,” said Jerry Dias, who is Unifor National President.
“The attempt to weaken Bombardier has pushed it to join with one of its competitors, which should not have had needed to happen. Ultimately, the US actions have created a stronger Bombardier,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Boeing-Bombardier trade dispute has put May in a difficult position. The British Prime Minister needs to keep good relations with US president Donald Trump, who was previously asked to intervene with the dispute before the US Commerce Department ruled to give punitive taxes to the Canadian company.
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