Bombardier chasing China sales while employees worry about job security
Published Wednesday, September 27, 2017 5:48PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 28, 2017 6:06PM EDT
The employees who build Bombardier's newest jet are wondering how safe their jobs are after the U.S. government is seeking to punish their company.
On Tuesday the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, in a preliminary ruling, placed a 219 percent tariff on the CSeries 100 jets being sold to Delta Airlines, and more financial penalties are expected.
Many people told CTV they don't know if they're going to lose their jobs, while their union called the ruling a disgusting, nightmare scenario.
"It's like trying to kill a fly with a sledgehammer," said Dave Chartrand.
Boeing had asked for an 80 percent tariff, but nobody expected the tariff that has been imposed.
Chartrand said that ultimately, he expects the penalty to be overruled.
"A country like the United States cannot shut us down from their border or prevent us from selling our aircraft over there like they are doing right now. It just doesn't work inside the free trade agreement," said the union executive.
The CEO of Delta called the ruling absurd, but could not say if the punitive tariffs would make him cancel the CSeries contract.
He did point out, however, that Boeing never even tried to take part in the tender, and does not build a plane comparable to the CSeries 100
By many accounts the CS100 is a superior, fuel-efficient plane that is perfect for an era of high fuel prices -- although oil prices are considered to be relatively low.
Analyst Dale Doreen said Boeing's challenge shows that manufacturer, and possibly others, are worried about competition.
"It's a huge market, the one that Bombardier is expecting to get their feet in the door, and they got their feet in the door with the Delta order and what's Boeing saying? 'Wow, we better be careful,' that's what they are saying," said Doreen.
The U.S., while a large market and historically Canada's largest trading partner, is only one market.
Bombardier is currently in talks with three Chinese airlines to sell the CSeries, and it's widely hoped that deals will be announced in October when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visits China.
Analysts also pointed out that trade challenges are somewhat normal when it comes to airplanes, since the industry is so heavily subsidized by governments worldwide.
Embraer has also challenged the CSeries, and a World Trade Organization panel should be formed on Friday to deal with the complaint filed by the Brazilian government.