The U.S. planemaker wants the Commerce Department to impose duties on the Montreal-based jet builder before deliveries of the Canadian plane to Delta begin next year. Bombardier says the claim “is plain wrong.”
Boeing accused Bombardier of selling C Series passenger jets in the U.S. at “absurdly low” prices, adding a new salvo to an increasingly tense trade relationship between the U.S. and Canada.
The U.S. plane maker is asking the International Trade Commission to find that it has suffered injury to its business at the hands of Bombardier and to recommend that the Commerce Department impose duties on the Montreal-based jet builder.
“Propelled by massive, supply-creating and illegal government subsidies, Bombardier Inc. has embarked on an aggressive campaign to dump its C Series aircraft in the United States,” Boeing said Thursday in its ITC complaint.
Bombardier responded Friday that Boeing’s allegations themselves are “absurd.”
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Boeing’s contention that Delta Air Lines purchased C Series jets for $19.6 million apiece, “is plain wrong,” Bombardier spokesman Bryan Tucker said in an interview. “We can’t disclose the actual price because it’s confidential, but it’s not $19.6 million.”
The crossfire opens a new front in trade tensions between the U.S. and Canada, which have intensified since President Donald Trump took office vowing to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and put “America First.” The U.S. recently imposed duties on Canadian lumber, reigniting a longstanding dispute, and Trump has complained about Canadian protections for dairy farmers.
Boeing said Bombardier’s 2016 Delta deal set a “new, low price ceiling,” below the $33.2 million cost of manufacturing the airplanes.
The Chicago-based company urged the Trump administration to act before deliveries of the jet begin next year to Delta.
The emerging tussle echoes longstanding U.S.-Europe disputes stemming from the rivalry between Boeing and Airbus SE.
“Evidently taking a page out of the Airbus strategy book, Bombardier has blatantly and intentionally demonstrated its goal of muscling its way into the U.S. aviation market by offering its heavily subsidized planes at cut-rate pricing,” the U.S. company said.
The C Series 100-seater lists for $76.5 million, while a 150-seat variant goes for $85.7 million. Discounts from catalog prices are customary in the industry.
“The government of Canada will mount a vigorous defense against these allegations and stand up for aerospace jobs on both sides of the border,” the office of Canadian Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains said Thursday in a statement. More than 50 percent of the jet’s components come from the U.S., his office said.
Boeing said Bombardier was able to offer the rock-bottom pricing because of government assistance. The Canadian government earlier this year pledged C$372.5 million ($273 million) to Bombardier to finance two jet programs including the C Series. Quebec’s provincial government invested $1 billion in the jetliner last year.
A U.S. Commerce Department spokesman declined to comment on Boeing’s complaint beyond saying that the agency gives all petitions a thorough review.