Canada Files WTO Complaint Against US in Boeing-Bombardier Dispute

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The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is expected Friday to file its staff report on whether Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) was harmed by the sale of 75 single-aisle passenger jets from Canada’s Bombardier to Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL) last March.

The ITC staff is expected to determine that Boeing was indeed harmed and to affirm the Commerce Department’s ruling last month that any Bombardier passenger jet exported to the United States will be subject to duties totaling nearly 300%.

Canada on Wednesday took the expected step of filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) challenging the U.S.’s rules related to antidumping and countervailing duty investigations as inconsistent with WTO rules.

Boeing has won at every step of the U.S. process for resolving the dispute with Bombardier, and Friday’s ruling should be no exception. The basis for that expectation is a statement in the Commerce Department’s ruling that Bombardier failed to respond to certain questions and that failure essentially overrode any other Bombardier argument.

A Seattle trade attorney, William Perry, commented on the WTO filing to industry analyst Scott Hamilton at Leeham News:

In truth a filing at the WTO, does not have any direct effect on the case.  The complaint will start up a litigation dispute at the WTO between the US and Canada, but getting an answer from a Dispute Resolution Committee will literally take years. …

Also, the WTO has no power to literally tell the Commerce Department and the ITC what to do, never mind actually interfere in an ongoing proceeding.  …

The Canadians in their complaint focus on the Counter Vailing Duties but do not focus on Bombardier’s failure to respond in the Antidumping Case. The WTO will affirm Commerce on that decision. …

In short, it does not appear that Boeing has anything to worry about, either in the ITC case or the WTO complaint. Investors took Boeing’s stock to another 52-week high Thursday morning, at $326.48. The 52-week low is $156.67, and the 12-month consensus price target on the stock is $312.04.