US Bombardier tariffs highlight UK’s post-Brexit vulnerabilities

The decision by the US Department of Commerce to slap a 220 per cent tariff on Bombardier’s imported CSeries planes – potentially threatening thousands of jobs in Northern Ireland – has led to warnings about the UK’s trade vulnerabilities post-Brexit.

Labour said Theresa May’s lack of action over the “widely predicted” move against the Canadian aerospace manufacturer shows her government is not up to the task of negotiating future trade deals.

Labour’s shadow industrial strategy minister Chi Onwurah said: “It’s a damning indictment of the criminal negligence and complacency of Theresa May and her government, and a sign of their entire lack of international negotiating skills which bodes really badly for our post-Brexit negotiations.”

Simon Tilford, from the Centre for European Reform, pointed out that the US would not have imposed similar tariffs against Europe’s Airbus. This is because the EU’s countermeasures against US firm Boeing’s exports to the bloc would be too damaging.

Once Britain is outside of the EU it will not have the economic power to defend against US trade aggression, Tilford explained.

He said: “This case gives us a real taste of how the UK will be treated in negotiations over a US-UK trade deal post-Brexit, and how vulnerable the country will be.”