Delta says it won't pay for U.S. tariffs on Bombardier

UK business minister to make statement on Bombardier after 1130 GMT

"We will not pay those tariffs", said Delta chief executive Ed Bastian, who sharply criticized preliminary penalties announced by President Donald Trump's administration on Canadian aerospace manufacturer Bombardier. "We will not pay tariffs that are being discussed and debated".

Delta is Bombardier's biggest C Series customer and its order was considered key in cementing the market viability for Bombardier's flagship passenger plane. The deal sparked allegations by Boeing that the plane maker had sold the C Series to Delta at "absurdly low prices".

The US Commerce Department has proposed heavy duties on Bombardier's new CSeries jetliners following a Boeing complaint that the order was significantly underpriced due to more than $3 billion in subsidies from Ottawa and the Quebec government.

Early next year the International Trade Commission, a quasi-judicial body of the USA government, will determine if harm was done to Boeing by the deal.

Boeing will have to prove that it was harmed by the C Series sale to Delta for the ITC to rule in its favour.

Britain hopes a provisional US ruling imposing tariffs on Canadian aerospace manufacturer Bombardier BBDb.TO will not be politically influenced when new evidence is considered, UK Business Secretary Greg Clark said on Tuesday.

"As you look through this and try to see how exactly a harm case is going to be developed, particularly to justify the type of tariffs that are being contemplated, to us it's unrealistic, a bit nonsensical".

He added Britain would discuss the ruling with the United States, Canada and the two companies in the coming days.

"Separate discussions with Boeing related to the interim purchase of Super Hornet aircraft remain suspended".

Bombardier is the largest manufacturing employer in Northern Ireland, and the decision to impose duties on the planes has put 4,200 jobs at risk.

Bastian noted that the tariffs at this point were preliminary and said the airline planned to make its case to United States officials.

Bombardier's aerospace division employs 28,500 worldwide.

Trudeau's office said the prime minister would "explore all options moving forward" during his talks with Trump.

"It is very hard for Boeing or any USA manufacturer to claim harm with a product that we purchased that they did not offer and they don't produce", Mr. Bastian said.

The carrier said the airline is exploring alternatives but declined to give any details.

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