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US-built CSeries still subject to import tax: Boeing

Boeing insists that Airbus's intention to deliver Bombardier CSeries aircraft from an Alabama final assembly site would not exempt the aircraft from potential US import taxes.

The statement by Boeing suggests that the Chicago-based airframer will not bow quietly to a plan Airbus and Boeing say would free the CSeries from import tariffs.

"The announced deal has no impact or effect on the pending proceedings at all," says Boeing in a 17 October tweet attributed to general counsel Michael Luttig.

"Any duties finally levied against the CSeries (which are now expected to be 300%) will have to be paid on any imported CSeries airplane or part, or it will not be permitted into the country," the tweet adds.

On 16 October, Airbus and Bombardier announced that Airbus will acquire a majority ownership in the CSeries programme and build a site in Alabama where the companies will perform final assembly of CSeries sold to US customers.

The partnership followed news in recent weeks that the US Department of Commerce intended to impose a 300% import duty on CSeries aircraft – a response to an anti-dumping and subsidy complaint filed by Boeing.

Boeing said on 16 October that the Airbus-Bombardier agreement "looks like a questionable deal between two heavily state-subsidised competitors to skirt the recent findings of the US government".

Boeing's tweet about import duties applying to aircraft parts, however, stands in stark contrast to statements made by officials at Bombardier and Airbus, who insist aircraft assembled in Mobile would be exempt from import duties.

"Aircraft produced at this facility will not be subject to duties under the pending US investigation," Bombardier chief executive Alain Bellemare said during a call with analysts on 16 October.

"When you produce an aircraft in the US, it is not subject to an import duty under US rules," Bellemare said during another call with reporters the same day. "We are not circumventing anything."

Boeing has provided no additional comment and has not explained how it intends to move forward.

The US Commerce Department – the agency that would order import tariffs – says it has not yet determined how the Airbus-CSeries deal or the US assembly site might affect import duties.

“At this time, we don't know enough about this new development to comment on its potential impact," Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross says in a statement.

The US Commerce Department's 300% tariff remains preliminary, pending a final ruling and separate rulings from the US International Trade Commission.

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