Government contracts with Boeing 'should be reviewed after trade row'

Government contracts with Boeing should be reviewed following the Bombardier trade dispute, a report from MPs said.

Companies willing to harm the UK economy should receive a frosty reception when tendering for work, Northern Ireland Affairs Committee chairman Dr Andrew Murrison said.

The committee called on Government to take steps to prevent a repeat of the threat to UK businesses following a Boeing trade complaint which endangered thousands of Belfast jobs.

Workers at Bombardier's East Belfast plant were jubilant last month when a ruling from the US International Trade Commission prevented the US from imposing 292% import tariffs on the company's planes.

Dr Murrison said: "If companies are willing to take action that directly harms the UK economy and, potentially, security they should expect a frosty reception when tendering for contracts."

Thousands of posts had been at risk at Bombardier in Belfast, which makes wings for the new C-Series jets, had the judgment gone against the firm.

The committee report added: "The Government must be proactive and continue to protect Bombardier's Northern Ireland operations from punitive action.

"Existing Government contracts with Boeing should be reviewed and past behaviour taken into account when bidding takes place for future contracts."

Bombardier has received a major order from Atlanta-based Delta airlines for the C-Series passenger jets.

Boeing made a complaint to the US authorities alleging UK and Canadian Government support for the C-Series had allowed Bombardier to sell the aircraft cheap, dumping them on the US market.

However the ITC said there was no injury to US manufacturers.

Dr Murrison added: "The Government must ensure that UK-based businesses are watertight against such speculative action in the future.

"UK workers cannot become collateral in disputes between multi-nationals.

"When spurious complaints like Boeing's can mean months of uncertainty for UK workers, the Government must be robust."

The MPs urged the Government to consider Boeing's recent actions and the potential impact on Northern Ireland when tendering future contracts.

Boeing employs large numbers of people in the UK.

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