The European Commission has reaffirmed its support for the UK over the current situation regarding Bombardier.
Jude Kirton-Darling, Member of the European Parliament for the North-East of England, submitted a written question to the Commission asking what action they would take concerning the decision by the US government to impose a 79.82% tariff on the Canadian company. This tariff will put significant pressure on the company whose factory in Northern Ireland employs around 4,000 people.
The Commission replied stating:
“The Commission fully shares the concerns of the Honourable Member over the very high preliminary determinations, notably as regards the anti-subsidy component. If the preliminary findings are confirmed, these aircraft will be effectively excluded from the US market. This would in turn have severe consequences for Bombardier’s suppliers in the UK and other EU Member States... The Commission will continue to support the UK in these investigations by means of written submissions, participation in hearings, and other technical and political interventions as appropriate, with the aim of ensuring that World Trade Organization (WTO) requirements are met and any unjustified trade defence measures avoided.”
This is not the first time that the EU has intervened to protect UK trade interests from punitive US tariffs. In 2002 the US imposed punishing tariffs on European steel exports, a sector which mainly resided in the UK. These were met with a firm response from the European Commission, which imposed retaliatory tariffs on US agricultural imports to the EU.
Jude Kirton-Darling MEP said: “This represents a tremendous show of solidarity on behalf of the Commission. Employees at Bombardier will now know that the European Union, as effectively the world’s second largest economy, will seek to protect their jobs from the aggressive trade measures being doled out by the Trump Administration.
“What we need now is strong action from the UK government. The Commission can only act if the UK asks it to so it is now up to the Conservatives to stand up and defend UK jobs.”