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UK government criticised for role in Bombardier dispute

UK government criticised for role in Bombardier dispute
From BBC - January 24, 2018

The UK government told US authorities that it did not consider itself a "legally proper party" to the Bombardier trade dispute with Boeing.

It also only submitted a four page legal argument to the body that will rule this week in the case.

In December, the US Commerce Department ruled the UK and Canada had given unfair subsidies to Bombardier to help it build its C-Series aircraft.

It proposed tariffs of 292% on any imported planes.

On Friday, the International Trade Commission (ITC) will rule if Boeing has been harmed by the subsidies.

If the commission decides the US-based firm has been harmed, then the tariffs will come into effect and the C-Series will effectively be shut out of the all-important US market - with implications for thousands of jobs in Belfast.

A BBC NI Spotlight investigation uncovered a substantial difference in approach to the case between the UK and Canadian Governments.

While the UK submission to the ITC was only four pages long, the Canadian submission ran to more than 170 pages.

"It's clear that the UK government has not come in full force, certainly not at the International Trade Commission," former ITC Commissioner, Prof Jennifer Hillman, told Spotlight.

The programme reveals that the government told authorities at the US Department of Commerce that it did not consider itself a "legally proper party" to the dispute.

Although UK government lawyers answered many lengthy and detailed questions put to them by the US Department of Commerce officials, a number of replies were late - with varying excuses offered when requesting extra time.

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