Canada cancels fighter-jet purchase from Boeing over trade dispute with US


Canada will call off a planned buy of 18 Boeing Super Hornet fighter jets after a months-long dispute with the USA defense contractor, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not a fan of the F-35 and the Boeing spat means officials are prepared to look at rivals such as the Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault Aviation SA's Rafale jet, say the sources, who asked to remain anonymous given the sensitivity of the situation.

Canada was in the midst of negotiations to buy the Boeing-made F/A-18s for an estimated $5.15 billion, but the country put talks on hold after the defense contractor in April filed a complaint with the U.S. Commerce Department against Canadian company Bombardier.

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Featured image courtesy of Wikipedia. RCAF now operates an ageing fleet of CF-18 fighters, which is due for replacement sometime in the next decade.

The government's decision to buy Australian fighter jets stands to increase tensions with Boeing, which has repeatedly warned that billions of dollars in business activity in Canada are at stake in the ongoing dispute. "With Canada, it was about $17 billion", the president said Tuesday in a meeting with Senate Republicans, according to Canadian news site Global News. "It has to be a two-way street, there has to be this mutually beneficial relationship for it to be one that grows, one that both sides are happy and excited about".

Investors Business Daily notes that the move appears to be motivated by a 300 percent tariff Washington slapped on sales of Canadian Bombardier Series C jets.

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Canadian officials participating in the NAFTA talks criticized the Commerce Department's tariff decision, with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland saying Canada "strongly disagrees" with the United States probes into its aerospace industry.

Canada had decided it needed Boeing's new Super Hornets to refresh its aging CF-18 Hornet fleet, but may have had a change of heart after the American manufacturer accused Canadian plane maker Bombardier of dumping in the commercial plane market. That legal process continues with final rulings expected by the U.S. International Trade Commission early next year.

However, Boeing Defense President and CEO Leanne Caret's reaction might offer observers a hint. "Unfortunately, I think they're taking advantage of a [political] context that's favorable to them". Ottawa has slammed the company for not acting as a trusted partner.

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