Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau threatened to back out of a $5 billion deal with Boeing, accusing the company of “unwarranted” attacks on the Canadian aerospace industry.
“We have obviously been looking at the Super Hornet aircraft from Boeing as a potential significant procurement of our new fighter jets,” Trudeau said at a press conference in Ottawa on Monday. “But we won’t do business with a company that’s busy trying to sue us and trying to put our aerospace workers out of business.”
Canada had been in talks to buy 18 Super Hornet fighter jets from Boeing, but the deal was put on hold after Boeing filed a lawsuit against Bombardier, a Canadian aerospace manufacturer. In the lawsuit, Boeing accused Bombardier of selling its aircraft in the United States at “absurdly low prices,” which was “in violation of U.S. and global trade laws.”
Boeing contested Trudeau’s statement, saying that the issue was a commercial dispute with Bombardier, not a lawsuit against Canada.
“Bombardier has sold airplanes in the U.S. for millions of dollars less than it has sold them in Canada, and millions of dollars less than it costs Bombardier to build them,” Boeing spokesperson Scott Day told The Washington Post. “This is a classic case of dumping, made possible by a major injection of public funds.”
Brazilian-based manufacturer Embraer has also previously taken issue with Canada’s Bombardier subsidies.
British Prime Minister Theresa May, who also spoke at the press conference, said that she will bring up the issue in a meeting with President Trump later this week. While some are hinting that Trudeau’s ultimatum could increase tensions between Canada and the U.S., threatening Boeing seems to happen on both sides of the border.
Earlier this year, Trump also engaged in battle with Boeing. Via Twitter, he complained about the high cost of a new Air Force One and threatened to cancel the order. Months later, the Air Force and Boeing reached a deal to lower the cost of the new presidential aircraft by using pre-built planes.