Boeing Co. has no plans to back down in its trade dispute with Canadian rival Bombardier — a high-stakes, cross-border conflict that the U.S. transportation giant says could have long-term ramifications for the future of the entire aerospace sector.
The potential consequences of the Boeing-Bombardier standoff extend beyond any single deal — especially for Boeing itself, said Marc Allen, president of Boeing’s international division.
“In Canada, we face a situation with a competitor, an emerging competitor, that has, yes, long received government support — but that just went beyond the pale in 2016,” Allen said in an interview with The Canadian Press.
“That aggressive move had to be addressed if we really believe in establishing a global architecture that will create the greatest prosperity for our industry and for us as a company in the long term.”
Boeing triggered the dispute earlier this year when it complained that Montreal-based Bombardier was selling its CSeries passengers jets to U.S.-based Delta Air Lines at an unfairly low price, thanks to loans and grants from both the province of Quebec and the federal government.
When the U.S. Commerce Department and its associated International Trade Commission agreed in May to investigate the complaint, the Trudeau government fired a warning shot, threatening to scrap its multibillion-dollar “interim” plan to buy 18 of Boeing’s “interim” Super Hornet fighter jets.
Boeing initially hoped to resolve the dispute through diplomacy, Allen said, and convinced the U.S. government last year to send an official note to Canada, known as a demarche.
“There was just no response,” Allen said. “It was clear that no progress was going to be made, and that if any progress was going to be had, it would have to be through some form of enforcement action.”
Boeing knew the dispute would spark a strong reaction from Ottawa, Allen continued, but company executives decided that it needed to take action in order to protect the firm’s broader interests.
And while the American aerospace titan — which also happens to employs thousands of people across Canada — would still prefer finding a resolution through more amicable means, Allen said it is singularly focused on achieving its…