Canada’s Bombardier won a surprise victory on Friday when U.S. investigators ruled that sales of its C-Series jets would not harm Boeing.
The International Trade Commission, which is a U.S. government agency, voted 4-0 to reject Boeing’s plea for a 300 percent duty on sales of the Bombardier jets.
The unanimous vote came as a surprise. Most analysts expected the ITC to side with Boeing, just as it has recently sided with U.S. manufacturers of solar panels and washing machines.
Boeing’s claim, however, was weaker than those cases. And expectations that it would prevail in the case likely more reflected that immense influence Boeing has long had in Washington, DC rather than any connection to economic nationalist policies. Boeing is a major source of lobbying funds in the nation’s capital and a major beneficiary of government subsidies. About 40 percent of the financing backed by the Export-Import Bank, for example, goes to subsidize Boeing sales.
The decision is not a loss for American workers. Although it is a Canadian company, Bombadier has plants in upstate New York, Pennsylvania, and Kansas. And it is planning to build the C-Series jets in a new plant in Alabama, creating hundreds of jobs.