The Quebec government joined Bombardier Friday in condemning a new U.S. duty of nearly 80 per cent on its CSeries jet.
Olivier Marcil, vice-president of external relations at Bombardier, said the Montreal-based company was in "complete disagreement" with the U.S. Commerce Department's decision Friday to impose a 79.82 per cent preliminary anti-dumping duty on its 100- to 150-seat civilian aircraft.
The new duty is in addition to a preliminary countervailing tariff of nearly 220 per cent that the U.S. government announced last week, bringing the total U.S. duties imposed on the CSeries to almost 300 per cent.
"It's completely disproportionate," Marcil said.
He emphasized, however, that the ruling is preliminary, and the U.S. International Trade Commission will have the final say in the matter.
Bombardier is hoping that decision will be made by the start of 2018.
Situation 'really unacceptable,' says Quebec economy minister
Quebec's Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation, Dominique Anglade, called the combined duties "absurd" and said her department will work to get the tariffs lowered, if not scrapped altogether.
"The situation is really unacceptable and unjustified, and the next steps for us are to focus on the work that needs to be done with the Department of Commerce in the United States and present all the elements that prove there's no reason for [additional tariffs] to be imposed," she said.
The duties stem from a petition filed by Boeing alleging that Bombardier's CSeries benefitted from improper subsidies from the Canadian government.
- Boeing hit Bombardier hard, but battle is far from over
- Bombardier calls 220% U.S. duty on CSeries 'absurd'
Boeing launched its appeal to the U.S. government in April, several months after Bombardier announced the sale of up to 125 CSeries jets to Delta Airlines.
In its petition, Boeing said the planes were sold at below-market prices.
Boeing petition meant to stifle competition, says Bombardier
Bombardier called the new duties an "egregious overreach and misapplication" of trade laws.
Commerce Department’s approach throughout this investigation has completely ignored aerospace industry realities. https://t.co/a8TVOs1doW— @Bombardier
The Montreal company says Boeing's business has not been hurt by the deal, noting the U.S. manufacturer does not have a comparable class of plane and did not bid on the Delta contract.
"It's a bit hard to plead damages when you haven't offered a plane in that category for more than 10 years," Marcil repeated Friday.
Marcil said he believes Boeing's goal is to close the American market to competition from the CSeries and foreign competitors.
"They want to reinforce their monopolistic position, and that's why we are contesting all their allegations," he said.
Anglade said her department is encouraging Bombardier to explore emerging markets in Africa and Asia.
"We have to be realistic," she said. "We have to prepare for what could happen."
For potential Bombardier customers in the U.S., Marcil acknowledged that it's a "wait and see moment."
"They want to see what kind of price they would have to pay for the aircraft," he said.
Union worries duties could be 'dangerous' for jobs
Dave Chartrand, Quebec co-ordinator of the machinists' union at Bombardier, said if nothing changes and the nearly 300 per cent duties are maintained, the planes will cost customers nearly three times as much.
Chartrand said the U.S. represents 30 per cent of the international commercial airplane market, and being closed out of it could have a major impact on Bombardier employees and suppliers.
"It could turn out to be dangerous for us," he said.
A number of Bombardier suppliers and sub-contractors are U.S.-based companies, Chartrand said, so the damage would not be limited to Canada.
"There are suppliers in California, there are some in Kansas, Illinois, Iowa," he said.
"There are about 22,000 people in the United States who depend on jobs from Bombardier ... it impacts both sides of the border."