Bombardier’s CSeries US crisis gives NI an early taste of “Free Market” realities..?

I’m not sure there’s much an Executive could do in these circumstances, but the significance of the US threat to highly skilled jobs in Bombardier in Belfast was for once not lost on the news in the rest of the UK. It even made the headlines on Radio 6 Music this morning.

The US Department of Commerce has clobbered 220% after it ruled that a $1 billion investment from Quebec and nearly half that amount in loans from the Federal government was used to offer Delta Airlines CSeries planes at a below-market price.

The DUP presser this morning:

The CSeries is a hugely innovative aircraft that is vital to Bombardier’s operations in Belfast. It is this innovation that sets the CSeries apart and it is not in direct competition with Boeing.

It is important that representations continue between government and the administrations in Canada and the US as well as with the two companies.

There has been recognition in London of how important the success of CSeries is to Northern Ireland and I would urge efforts from Ministers to continue.

However, the party must know that this introduction to the harsh realities of free trade economics will provide some rough weather for its determination to press for a hard Brexit. The US market, in particular under Trump, will be no more a fan of state aid than the EU.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill is writing letters, the SDLP calls for unity with Sinead Bradley pointing out that “the final ruling will not be heard until February next year”. So there is time (though not much of it).

The UUP’s East Belfast MLA argues that the UK government ought to…

… send a clear and uncompromising message to Boeing that the Poseidon, AH Apache and C17 contracts, as well as Boeing’s contract to maintain UK MoD aircraft, could be reconsidered in light of their self-centred and protectionist stance.

Hmmm, but you’d have to ask yourself how far will Brexit UK want to push its luck with a crucial trading partner outside the EU?

Finally, Alliance’s Stephen Farry highlights the impacts of a follow through on this ruling:

The company is the cornerstone of the manufacturing sector in Northern Ireland, both as the largest employer and enabler of a wider engineering supply chain. Any negative impact of this ruling on the company would have a massive impact of many livelihoods and the wider economy.

Quite. Anyone feel like getting back to work anytime soon?

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty