Boeing a ‘Subsidy Junkie,’ U.K.’s Labour Says in Bombardier Spat

Boeing Co. is the “king of corporate welfare,” the U.K.’s main opposition Labour Party said, accusing the U.S. aerospace giant of “egregious hypocrisy” in pursuing an illegal-subsidies claim against Bombardier Inc. that threatens thousands of jobs in Northern Ireland.

The U.S. slapped 300 percent of duties on Bombardier’s C Series aircraft after upholding Boeing’s contention that the Canadian company benefited from state support, allowing it to sell the model more cheaply. Labour’s trade spokesman Barry Gardiner said Wednesday that “no aircraft these days comes to market without support from government,” including those produced by Boeing.

“Boeing has absolutely been sucking at the milk of corporate welfare in America for far too long,” Gardiner said on Bloomberg TV. “They need to understand that the way in which they are playing this does not sit well with U.K. parliamentarians.”

The dispute has caused a headache for U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, who wants to strike a trade deal with the U.S. as Britain leaves the European Union. At the same time, she needs to protect more than 4,000 Bombardier jobs in Northern Ireland, where she depends on the support of 10 lawmakers from the Democratic Unionist Party to get legislation through Parliament.

Hostile Tactic

Gardiner didn’t mince his words on Boeing, suggesting that the company is itself a “subsidy junkie” and accusing it of bringing the Bombardier case to “crush a competitor” and get hold of “superior technology” — including wings that are made in Belfast — by driving down its share price “so that they can try and do a hostile takeover.”

A spokesman for Boeing in the U.K. said the U.S. action is about conforming with trade law and that “Boeing complies.” He declined to comment on whether the company was trying to hurt Montreal-based Bombardier’s share price in preparation for a takeover attempt.

Gardiner also said he plans to ask European authorities to investigate whether there is an anti-dumping case to be made against Boeing over its contract to sell 30 of the latest 737 Max 8 jetliners to Monarch Airlines Ltd., which filed for insolvency earlier this month.

Source link