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Bombardier tariff ruling rattles Belfast rector

Rev John Cunningham reacted to a move by the United States to impose a heavy import tariff on new Bombardier jets, the wings of which are manufactured in his city.

The rector of St Patricks Church, Ballymacarrett said: "I think they [local people] are going to be nervous. There's uncertainty. There's fear. It's a destablising factor in the community, generally."


Sales of the new C Series passenger plane to the US now face being subject to a 220 per cent import tariff, the US Department of Commerce has ruled in a preliminary decision. A final decision is due in February next year.

The news follows complaints by rival aerospace giant Boeing that Bombardier received unfair state subsidies from the UK and Canada which enabled the Canadian firm to sell its planes at below cost price.


If the decision is confirmed next year, it could have devastating consequences for Bombardier, its 4,000 employees in Belfast and thousands more workers across Northern Ireland involved in the firm's supply chains.

Rev Cunningham added: "It's a very big employer in Northern Ireland. As with most large companies, it's not the people who work in the factory, it's the suppliers. They are dozens and dozens of companies which supply parts.


"From what we're hearing, there's a long way to go before this is all over. My prayer would be for all those people who are now frightened about their livelihoods, their mortgages, their rents."

Bombardier has branded the decision by the US government "absurd", while unions have accused the Prime Minister of being "asleep at the wheel".

Theresa May said she was "bitterly disappointed" at the Bombardier decision. In a tweet, she said: "The Government will continue to work with the company to protect vital jobs for Northern Ireland."

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