U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May pressed President Donald Trump again Thursday on the importance of Bombardier to the Northern Ireland economy, a day before a final vote in the United States on a closely watched trade case between aircraft manufacturers that could affect jobs there.
A meeting on Thursday between the two world leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, began with discussion of the case, with May "reiterating the importance of the company’s jobs in Northern Ireland,” according to a readout of the meeting provided by the U.K. government.
May has previously pressed Boeing to drop the case. In September, she said that she was “bitterly disappointed” by the U.S. Commerce Department’s preliminary decision to impose extremely high tariffs on a line of Bombardier jets. The U.K. maintains that imposing the tariffs could put 4,000 employees at Bombardier’s British operations in Northern Ireland at risk.
The U.S. International Trade Commission will vote Friday afternoon on whether U.S. aircraft maker Boeing is being hurt by imports of commercial aircraft from Canada. If the ITC determines that Boeing has been materially injured, or is threatened with material injury, Bombardier would be hit with duties of nearly 300 percent.
During their Davos meeting, Trump and May also "reiterated their desire for a strong trading relationship post-Brexit, which would be in the interests of both countries,” the U.K. readout said.
In brief remarks to reporters ahead of the meeting, both leaders emphasized their interest in a strong bilateral trading relationship.
"The trade is going to increase many times, and we look forward to that,” Trump said. "But the trade concepts and discussions … most importantly that will be taking place are going to lead to tremendous increases in trade between our two countries, which is great for both in terms of jobs."