Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister, told President Donald Trump on Wednesday he would block his country’s armed forces from buying Boeing aircraft if the US presses ahead with plans to slap import tariffs of 300 percent on Bombardier aeroplanes.
The issue is threatening to ignite a trade war between the US, Canada and the UK, where the Canadian planemaker employs about 4,000 people in Belfast.
Mr Trudeau met the US President at the White House for talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement and said he raised the issue of Bombardier “directly”, outlining his opposition to US anti-dumping policy.
“I highlighted to the president how we disagree vehemently with Commerce’s decision to bring in countervailing and anti-dumping duties against Bombardier, that we feel this is not something that is warranted and quite frankly something that we look very negatively upon,” he said after the meeting.
“The attempts by Boeing to put tens of thousands of aerospace workers out of work across Canada is not something we look on positively.”
He added that the talks were “not easy”.
Two weeks ago the US Department of Commerce said Bombardier’s C-Series jets should be subject to a 219 per cent import duty, after Boeing complained its manufacturer received subsidies from Canada and the UK.
Theresa May, the Prime Minster, responded by saying the US was risking a trade war and warned Boeing that it was jeopardising future deals with the Ministry of Defence to supply aircraft such as its Apache helicopters.
Days later, the US ruled in favour of adding a further 80 per cent tariff after Boeing complained they were being sold at “absurdly low” prices.
Mr Trudeau added that he told Mr Trump he would prevent subsequent Canadian government orders from Boeing.
“I certainly mentioned that this was a block to us making any military procurements from Boeing,” he said.