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PM calls Trump to try to save United Kingdom aviation jobs

13 September 2017

Bombardier is Northern Ireland's largest manufacturing employer and the government is pressing Boeing to drop its challenge, with Prime Minister Theresa May raising the issue with U.S. President Donald Trump in a call earlier this month.

May raised the issue with Trump in a call this month.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called the action "unfair and aggressive" and has threatened defense contracts with the United States company.

May's trip had been scheduled in advance, and there will be other items on the agenda, a Canadian official familiar with the matter told Reuters.

"We are as one".

"It provides a lot of employment in Northern Ireland and so she has taken a similar position to us, sending a very strong signal to Boeing that they should be listening to Canada", he said.

Unifor National President Jerry Dias is meeting this afternoon with Boeing officials to discuss its trade complaint involving Bombardier's C Series planes.

The Liberal government has linked the trade dispute to its plan to purchase Super Hornet fighter jets by threatening to walk away from the deal if Boeing doesn't drop the case.

"This is a commercial matter but the United Kingdom government is working tirelessly to safeguard Bombardier's operations and its highly skilled workers in Belfast".

The dispute centres over Boeing's allegations that Bombardier received subsidies allowing it to sell its CSeries planes at below-market prices.

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A spokesman for May said Bombardier's jobs were "of huge importance" to Northern Ireland.

Some commentators have argued Boeing has taken the action on the basis of his inward looking vision for the States.

The US-based International Trade Commission will make an initial ruling on September 25 when industry figures expect it to order a punitive tariff of $30 million per aircraft.

May has the backing of the DUP's 10 MPs for her majority of 13 - as long as she keeps her end of the bargain.

It's not just Northern Ireland: The U.K. argues that 22,000 jobs in over 20 USA states are also at risk.

'We will continue our efforts to secure a resolution'.

"All we've said to Secretary Ross is that we would like to continue discussions, because we don't understand why they would be taking action on a case where [Boeing] wasn't even competing for the business".

"We believe that global trade only works if everyone plays by the same rules of the road".

May had a phone call with Trump last week in which she pleaded with the President to intervene in a legal battle between two rival aircraft manufacturers which threatens to destroy thousands of jobs in Northern Ireland.

Bombardier condemned Boeing's position as "an unfounded assault on airlines, the travelling public and further innovation in aerospace".

PM calls Trump to try to save United Kingdom aviation jobs