Government contracts with Boeing should be reviewed following its recent trade dispute with Bombardier, according to a report from MPs.
In the report, MPs from the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee (NIAC) called on the UK government to consider Boeing’s recent actions, and the potential impact on Northern Ireland, when tendering future contracts.
“Existing government contracts with Boeing should be reviewed and past behaviour taken into account when bidding takes place for future contracts,” it said.
Canada-based Bombardier employs thousands of UK workers at its East Belfast plant, which makes wings for the company’s C-Series jet.
The dispute started after Boeing made a complaint to US authorities alleging that UK and Canadian government support for the C-Series had allowed Bombardier to sell the aircraft cheap, dumping them on the US market.
The US Department of Commerce ruled that the UK and Canada had given the company unfair subsidies and ordered a 292% import tariff to be imposed on US imports of Bombardier’s C-Series planes.
However, last month the US Trade Commission overturned the decision to impose the tariffs on the company’s planes, ruling that there was no injury to US manufacturers.
Boeing has yet to decide whether to appeal its defeat.
The report said thousands of jobs at the company's Belfast plant would have been at risk had the judgement gone against the company.
Andrew Murrison, NIAC chairman, said: “If companies are willing to take action that directly harms the UK economy and potentially, security, they should expect a frosty reception when tendering for contracts.
“UK workers cannot become collateral in disputes between multinationals.”
He added that the government must ensure that UK-based businesses are “watertight” against similar action in the future.
“It’s such a relief for workers and the Northern Ireland economy but we are left wondering about the needless damage Boeing’s flimsy claims might have caused,” he said.
“When spurious complaints like Boeing’s can mean months of uncertainty for UK workers, the government must be robust.”
☛ Want to stay up to date with the news? Sign up to our daily bulletin.