Though he’s been in office for nearly a year, the country is still waiting for President Donald Trump to explain the specifics of the “America first” trade policy he promised to adopt during the 2016 campaign. As his tough talk on trade deals helped put him in the White House, his stance on trade is important, both to his presidency and his hopes for re-election.
Another pledge that resonated with voters across the country was his promise to create jobs. And what do President Trump’s trade actions this year mean for American workers?
Consider the petition by Boeing, the U.S. aerospace giant, which is before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and the U.S Department of Commerce (DOC), alleging that certain government subsidies are given to Bombardier, a Canadian plane and train manufacturer, by the national and provincial governments, permitting the dumping of a new class of small passenger jets into the U.S. market.
The U.S. ITC agreed with Boeing, and the case moved forward.
If the U.S. government continues to side with Boeing, this could impact Bombardier’s current domestic jobs and those to come by the recent Airbus partnership. However, as noted by Delta airlines, Boeing does not compete with Bombardier in the market for planes that can carry up to 100 passengers; the allegations are, to say the least, problematic. Furthermore, the planes have not yet entered the U.S. market.
And Boeing builds larger planes intended to travel longer distances than does Bombardier, making its claim it faces the threat of material injury from Bombardier's C Series somewhat specious. On a recent call to discuss quarterly earnings, Boeing executives talked about backlogs and its production capacity being oversold, meaning it has more business than it can handle already — a statement in direct conflict with the idea the activities of Bombardier in the smaller plane market are harmful to its bottom line.
The complaint Boeing has asked the U.S. ITC to resolve is further undermined by its response to Bombardier’s recent announcement it was partnering with Europe’s Airbus and would build the C Series at its plant in Mobile, Alabama.
A Boeing executive said the collaboration by its rivals would have no effect on its allegation of dumping and its demand for import tariffs; Yet in its initial filings in the trade case, Boeing acknowledged the Airbus A319, which is viewed as competition for its 737s, would be exempt from duties if the planes were produced at the Mobile plant. It’s as though it never saw the partnership with Airbus as a reasonable response to its earlier attack on Bombardier and is now asking the ITC to forget its earlier admission.
For American workers, the Airbus-Bombardier link up is a good thing. It means jobs will be created here at home, something the president promised he would make his first priority during the 2016 campaign.
Reports coming out of the recent Dubai air show project the market for the new C Series plane could easily top 6,000 orders. If that proves accurate, the Bombardier-Airbus partnership would only grow the estimated 2,000 permanent jobs and $300 million in foreign direct investment in the U.S. that Bombardier estimates will flow from production in Mobile. In addition, the certainty the partnership brings should swell the 22,700 U.S. jobs already associated with the C Series in the supply base throughout the U.S.
Boeing is a great American company that makes great airplanes. It just doesn't happen to make one that competes with the Bombardier C Series, which will now be made in America, by Americans, for U.S. airlines.
It’s time Boeing and the U.S. ITC saw the light, before the pending deadlines at the DOC in December and before the ITC in early 2018. The C Series is indeed good for the U.S. flying public, U.S aerospace workers and the U.S economy. Like Trump, the consideration here should be what is in America’s best interest rather than the interests of just one company, no matter how big and politically influential that one company might be.