Northern Ireland

PM to discuss Bombardier trade dispute with Justin Trudeau

Bombardier, a Canadian aerospace firm's logo Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Bombardier, a Canadian aerospace firm, is Northern Ireland's largest manufacturing employer.

The prime minister and Canadian leader Justin Trudeau are expected to discuss a trade dispute that could threaten jobs at Bombardier in Belfast.

Bombardier, a Canadian aerospace firm, is Northern Ireland's largest manufacturing employer.

Rival firm Boeing has complained about alleged anti-competitive practices in the sale of Bombardier's CSeries jet.

Bombardier could face significant financial penalties if the US trade authorities find against it.

The British and Canadian prime ministers are due to meet in Ottawa later on Monday.

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Media captionThe history of Bombardier in Northern Ireland

Last week, it emerged that Theresa May had spoken to US President Donald Trump about the case.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The wings for the CSeries planes are made in Belfast

In 2016, Bombardier won its biggest ever order to provide its CSeries passenger plane to Delta, a major US airline.

Boeing has claimed Bombardier is selling the planes for less than they cost to build.

It said Bombardier can only afford to do that because of financial help that it has received from the Canadian and British governments.

It wants the US government to hit Bombardier with punitive tariffs.

Last week, a UK government spokesman said: "Ministers across government have engaged swiftly and extensively with Boeing, Bombardier, the US and Canadian governments.

"Our priority is to encourage Boeing to drop its case and seek a negotiated settlement with Bombardier."

Canada has threatened to retaliate by cancelling an order with Boeing for 18 Super Hornet fighter jets.

Mr Trudeau recently raised the case in a phone call with the governor of Missouri, the US state that is home to many jobs manufacturing the fighter jets.

The Unite union, which represents workers at Bombardier in Northern Ireland, has called on the the two prime ministers to send a strong message.

Davy Thompson, Unite's regional coordinator, said: "We want both of them to call Boeing out on this.

"Boeing are claiming there are illegal subsidies. There is nothing illegal in them.

"We also have to revisit the military contracts the UK has with Boeing because this is a really hostile position that Boeing is taking."

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