President Trump's bid to Make America Great Again with a trade war targeting Canada could lead to thousands of jobless Americans, several lawmakers are warning.
At issue is the administration's consideration of Boeing's request to slap Canada's small aircraft maker Bombardier for getting into the jetliner business, creating a new competitor to its 737.
A bipartisan group of House and Senate members are warning that tariffs on Bombardier could cost 2,000 American jobs and $14 billion here because the company operates in over a dozen states.
It is unclear what Trump will do, though last week he was quoted demanding new tariff proposals.
"We recognize that Boeing's aircraft development and production activities are extremely important to U.S. leadership in the world's aerospace economy," said the letter to Trump. But, added the lawmakers, "Through your leadership, we believe that the U.S. government can help to resolve these cases in a manner that preserves the significant economic contribution and continued economic growth provided to the United States by both these fine companies."
The letter was sent to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, National Economic Council chair Gary Cohn and International Trade Commission's Rhonda Schmidtlein. It has already hit the Canada press.
It was signed Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, also of West Virginia, Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts of Kansas and Reps. Ron Estes of Kansas and David McKinley of West Virginia.
Dear Secretary Ross, Chairman Schmidtlein, Director Cohn, and Amb. Lighthizer:
For more than one hundred years, the United States has led the world's economy in innovation and manufacturing. Aircraft manufacturers and aerospace suppliers here create the airframes, engines, avionics systems, and other components that serve air carriers and passengers around the globe. The United States' leadership in the aerospace sector is essential to thousands of jobs in our states and in many other communities across the country. For that reason, we have closely monitored the U.S. government proceedings related to large civil aircraft imported from Canada.
We support enforcement of U.S. trade laws to counteract unfair or unlawful activities by foreign interests, but ask that you consider closely the merits of this case along with the broader impacts on U.S. jobs and economic benefits in our communities. Specifically, we wish to underscore the significant positive economic impacts being created by both the parties involved in this proceeding, including jobs that support domestic aircraft manufacturing, jobs made possible by related exports, and jobs created through inward U.S. investment in the sector.
In the United States, Bombardier's manufacturing operations, along with its purchases from U.S.-based suppliers, generate significant employment and economic benefits. Bombardier has been operating and investing in the United States for more than forty years. The company has employees across seventeen states, including 2;000 jobs in the states that we represent. Bombardier also operates four U.S. manufacturing facilities, and manages a significant installed product base through operations-and-maintenance service centers in more than thirty locations across the country.
In the past five years, Bombardier has generated $14 billion in business for U.S. suppliers. Direct export sales from the company's U.S. activities totaled $3 billion for the same period while purchases by the company's operations outside the United States generated an additional $11.5 billion in U.S. exports.
Bombardier's C Series aircraft, which is the subject of the current proceedings, is an example of the company's significant economic contributions to the U.S. economy. Final assembly of the C Series is conducted in Canada, yet more than 50 percent of each aircraft's content is sourced from U.S.-based suppliers. Bombardier projects that the C Series program will generate more than $30 billion in business for U.S. suppliers and support more than 22,700 direct, indirect, and induced U.S. jobs over the life of the program. In addition, the C Series is flight tested at Bombardier's facilities in Wichita, supporting jobs directly at the site.
We recognize that Boeing's aircraft development and production activities are extremely important to U.S. leadership in the world's aerospace economy. Additionally, we fully support the U.S. government's overall focus on enforcing free and fair trade practices. We are also aware, however, of the considerable economic benefits provided to this country by Bombardier and the potential for unintended economic consequences presented by this case.
As the government considers Boeing's petitions, we encourage you to work with the parties and the government of Canada to find a responsible solution that acknowledges the material economic benefit both parties generate for the United States and allows their long-term positive influence on our economy to continue. Through your leadership, we believe that the U.S. government can help to resolve these cases in a manner that preserves the significant economic contribution and continued economic growth provided to the United States by both these fine companies.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at email@example.com