Bombardier ruling will have a negative impact on the island of Ireland.
EU must signal it will unconditionally oppose protectionist measures by the US
ISME, the Irish SME Association today (October 4th) voices its concern at the recent decision by the US Department of Commerce levy a tariff of 219% on Bombardier jets; this decision is not just a problem for the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, it’s a problem for us all. The European Union must act to ensure that jobs across the European Union, whether they be in Ireland, the United Kingdom or any other European state are protected.
ISME recognises that there might be a temptation to let the British ‘stew in their own juices’ for a while as the Brexit train-wreck slowly piles up. It would be folly for the EU to give in to that temptation.
Firstly; for better or for worse, the UK is still a member of the Union, and will be for the next two years at a minimum. It is no less deserving of EU protection because it has voiced its intention to leave.
Secondly; Brexit has paralysed the British political system. Neither the Conservative Party and their DUP coalition allies, nor the Labour Party, have any coherent strategy on where Brexit is ultimately going. They are unable to appeal for EU help right now.
Thirdly; if ever there was an opportunity to appeal directly to UK workers about the merits of EU membership over the heads of their zombie politicians and clueless trade-unionists, this is it.
Fourthly; and despite the campaigning of the DUP, a solid majority of Northern Ireland citizens voted to remain in the EU. They must see this mandate as having some value while they are still in membership.
Fifthly; if we wondered what an ‘America First’ trade policy we would look like, we don’t any more. It is a zero-sum, winner-takes-all blood-bath, played out for the gain of US companies exclusively. It will only respond to a willingness to retaliate in kind.
And finally; and most fortunately for Commissioner Vestager, the world’s largest buyer of Boeing 737 MAX 200 jets happens to be headquartered in Dublin. The mere suggestion that the EU would retaliate to US provocation with a 220% tariff on Boeing aircraft would concentrate minds in Seattle and Dublin considerably.
Commenting on this, ISME CEO, Neil McDonnell said“The EU should not wait until the US Trade Commission rules on the Department of Commerce decision next year. It should signal right now that it will unconditionally, unequivocally and aggressively oppose protectionist measures by the US with tariffs of like effect”.
“This is the right fight to pick, with the right bully, at the right time. We need the US to understand this isn’t a problem it can tweet its way out of.”
“We ask Minister Coveney to ensure Commissioner Vestager puts the Bombardier jobs (all of them, no matter where in the EU they are located) at the top of her priority list. If she can’t protect them against aggressive US trade policy, how can she convince any other member states that EU membership is a worthwhile protection against unfair competition? She should forget tax, and focus on her day-job of fair competition”.