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?

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  • aquifer

    I think Shorts Bombardier used to make Boeing engine pods.

  • Gopher

    It is who Airbus actually sell those aircraft to. Only 9 out of the fifty busiest airports exist in Europe and only 2 in the top ten

    Of the orders for A380’s only 42 are European, For the new A 350 848 order and only 125 are for European airlines. For Short haul the story is much the same

    Airbus’s primary markets are clearly outside Europe

  • mickfealty

    One nationalist, soon to be an ex, MEP. The point is Brexit can only deepen UK sovereignty (as the DUP intended) and all the leading Nationalist party can think to do is down tools and walk off the site.

    You might buy that that is some clever means to a UI, I can’t bring myself to accept it’s any more than an excuse. They should be pumping Strand One and Strand Two for all the good can be got out of it.

    Instead, drift.

  • mickfealty

    They’d have seats in the NS Council, and they’d have all the rights Scotland and Wales have to attend negotiations and look for meetings/ briefings from the main players. What are they doing now? Writing fecking letters. Even I can do that!! 😜👀

  • mickfealty

    Right now, I don’t get the sense anyone in the DUP is under any illusions about the reliability of the Tories once they can cut loose. This is a two year window, and possibly not much more. But after the initial hostilities from the GB press, they have at least something to show.

  • mickfealty

    We’ll cross that bridge if and when we ever get there. Wake me up in the Spring?

  • mickfealty

    It’s a reference to the lack of one.

  • Barneyt

    I understand that bombardier is the only manufacturer of the plane class we are talking about I.e c-series carrying 100 to 110 passengers. This must surely be designed for the short hop market? Not sure the US has a massive reliance on such an aircraft?

  • runnymede

    That’s not true. Boeing has been involved in years of legal actions against Airbus.

    And re. Canada – they have enjoyed a beneficial free trade arrangement with the US for some decades. There are inevitable spats within such an arrangement but I see no signs of the Canadians being ground into the dust, joining the USA etc.

    Trying to latch on to any flimsy piece of evidence to attack Brexit is very tiresome.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I’d recommend that you actually look into what they do, behind the headlines. The Apple manufacturing plant in Cork builds the principal Apple desktop model, the iMac. It employs 4,000 workers at what is the only Apple owned manufacturing operation in the world, as all other models are sub-contracted. Of course I could have listed the numerous other companies which will ensure Irelands place as one of the top ten economies in the world within the coming decade, while we still have to fork out tax payer money (or, worse, borrowed money) to attract a company whose C Series planes are “not going to be value accreditive in any scenario”, and which are being dumped onto the US market discounted to about half of their real production castings! This is only possible because Canada and the U.K. are subsidising this. Apple’s fault is to wish to hang on to their profits, rather than to drag a zombie operation drearily along on “gifts” from government funds they have not earned.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I note you have stopped at 2010 rather than carry the saga on to the present day. This month the ruling you quote was overturned by the WTO on an appeal by Boeing, which has now whittled down the Airbus claim of state subsidy for Boeing to well under a twentieth of what is being upheld against Airbus itself.

    The greater part of what Airbus claimed was what they described as indirect subsidy in the form actual orders and research contracts. Even the tax breaks, which are a reminding of tax liability, relate to Boeing’s profits, rather than “no interest loans” (apparently non repayable loans in fact) as in the case of Bombardier. Boeing is trading commercially with its planes, rather than dumping planes at about half of the actual production costs. Bombardier miscalculated their market with the C Series planes, and compounded this by overestimating their development skills and setting schedules for first flight and operational dates which they have been catastrophically unable to meet. This has destroyed credibility and has effectively led to sales cancellations which have ruined their business. With similar delays in their train production schedules, they have required serious bail outs in order to continue after their attempt to sell majority share holding in the C Series to Airbus in 2015. With informed analysis of their prospects seeing that ” the C Series is not going to be value accreditive under any scenario” the principal claim of Boeing, that Bombardier are grabbing market share by dumping in order to break honest and commercial competition looks like something pretty hard to counter.

  • Jeremy Cooke

    Rather than wring our hands over something that may or may not happen and over which neither we nor the UK government has any influence should we not be actively chasing alternatives such as Mr Dyson’s electric car or Mr Musk’s battery production ?

    Somebody, somewhere must try to rise above the petty squabbles of the political classes and single-issue obsessives.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I’d entirely agree! And yes, I was using a broad brushstroke in mentioning the long stop bodies!

    I fear with the current degeneration of the Belfast Agreement in the welter of exit fantasy simmering away in Westminster, we will perhaps have to await the imminent moment of reunification for to receive the benefits of more enlightened intervention in our basket case economy. For Westminster we are in Edwin Ardner’s sense very much a “remote area”, but for Dublin we will be simply another part of the island.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Let’s hope that scenario occurs. It would be an asset for our economy to be involved with a company in profit rather that one requiring a stream of bail outs to stay afloat. And we certainly have the skills……

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Regarding the role of various nation states in all of this I’m reminded of that old Emo Philips routine. Two boys playing darts against the back of Emo’s head in a pub. “Hey you guys, when you’re finished your game you’re outta here….”

    Think subsidies……

  • Skibo

    I will give you one reference;
    ” Man standing on mountain waiting for duck to fly in will have long wait”

  • jporter

    Oh, I agree we’re barely being considered at all in this. That was kind of my point.

  • Damien Mullan

    “There is not enough work out of Europe in Aerospace.”

    Well I think you need to re-frame that original statement. Because as
    Airbus’s securing of 50% market share of aircraft orders since 2003 indicates, there is a lot of ‘work out’ on the manufacturing side in European Aerospace. That a lot of it is, as you say, destined for external global non-EU markets, can only add to the export surplus the EU has with the rest of the world in aviation manufacturing.

    This is what the Bombardier story is about. Aviation manufacturing.

  • 05OCT68

    According to reports Bombardier employ 22,000 in the US & some of the C series components are US made. Unite say this about Boeing trying to wipe out Bombardier.

  • Barneyt

    You really think it will deepen sovereignty? I can accept that point of view however I don’t believe for one minute the DUP foresaw this. It was British nationalism at work. But back to sovereignty. Surely brexit has offered an opportunity to loosen the apron strings? Without brexit there would be limited facility to call for special status. There would be no calls for a border at the Irish Sea. The all Ireland agenda would not gain strength. Without brexit none of these calls would emerge and gain the attention they have done. Surely? I suppose it’s one thing having room to push for different status or some form of all-Ireland and another achieving it. at least brexit bloodied the nose of sovereignty but I can’t see the strengthening

  • Kevin Breslin
  • Devil Éire

    If the DUP has the ‘actual’ power right now, it’s because of the temporary little arrangement with the Tories. A functioning Assembly will not change that position one jot. Even if it could speak with one voice on the issue, the Assembly is powerless to affect the outcome of the Brexit negotiations. Suggesting otherwise is a patently cynical exercise.

  • mickfealty

    Now, a SF member of the UK Parliament who turns up at Leinster House looking a seat in Dublin is actually “powerless to affect anything”. It’s also the definition of “patent cynicism”.

    Taking office means access if not to talks then the leading participants. But it is also patently cynical to ignore the fact that there are already joint positions worked out between McGuinness and Foster when they were joint First Ministers. They can and should lobby separately on the things they disagree on.

    But currently they have no status beyond MLA and whatever their party chooses to call them.