U.S. court strikes down 300 percent tariff on Canadian jets

A U.S. trade panel has struck down a tariff of almost 300 percent levied on Canadian aircraft maker Bombardier, representing a major defeat for U.S. aircraft giant Boeing (BA). 

The unanimous decision from the U.S. International Trade Commission effectively blocks the Commerce Department's plans to slap 292 percent tariffs on Bombardier. 

Commerce ruled last year that the Canadian firm had unfairly received government subsidies and sold its C series planes at artificially low prices in the United States. The case threatened to raise tensions between Washington and U.S. allies Canada and Britain, which has a Bombardier plant.

The trade court said it hadn't found Boeing was materially harmed by Bombardier's trade practices. 

Bombardier immediately praised the ruling as a "victory for innovation, competition, and the rule of law." Delta (DAL), which is the only U.S. airline to purchase the C series, also praised the decision.

"Delta is pleased by the U.S. International Trade Commission's ruling rejecting Boeing's anticompetitive attempt to deny U.S. airlines and the U.S. traveling public access to the state-of-the-art 110-seat CS100 aircraft when Boeing offers no viable alternative," the airline said in a statement. 

Boeing said it was "disappointed" and vowed to continue to document the damage from "illegal subsidies and dumped pricing."

Canadian officials had protested the tariff, with its minister of foreign affairs saying at the time that it was "clearly aimed at eliminating Bombardier's C Series aircraft from the U.S. market."

The Trump administration has repeatedly clashed with Canada over trade, including Canadian softwood lumber imports. It has launched contentious talks to renegotiate the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico — a pact that President Donald Trump has called a job-killing disaster.

Last October, Bombardier sold a majority stake in the C Series program to Europe's Airbus for no cost. The C Series headquarters was slated to stay in the Montreal area but a second assembly line for the 100- to 150-seat plane is scheduled to be set up at Airbus' plant in Mobile, Alabama.