The UK and Canadian governments thought Boeing would win, as it had at the US Department of Commerce. Observers and media, including LNC, were unanimous in believing Boeing would win. Bombardier did, too—already filing notices at the World Trade Organization and NAFTA to contest Commerce’s stiff tariff decisions.
With a 4-0 decision by ITC that Boeing suffered no harm, two questions arise:
What happened, and What’s next?
At this writing, we were still awaiting an anticipated press release to be issued hours after the ITC announced the vote. It isn’t to shed more than a little light on the decision. But the full reasoning may never be known to the general public.
Commerce will get a full copy of the decision around Feb. 9, an ITC spokesperson tells LNC. This contains all the commercially sensitive information provided by the parties in this case. Their lawyers should get the document at the same time.
The public version, redacted of the commercial information (which is all the good stuff), will become available around March 2.
The four commissioners who voted pre-date the Trump Administration. Three were appointed by President Obama and one by President George W. Bush. The latter is described as a pro-US industry commissioner. Voting against Boeing is characterized as significant.
William Perry is a trade attorney with the Seattle law firm of Harris Bricken. He previously worked for the US ITC and Commerce on trade cases. He correctly predicted Boeing would prevail at Commerce. He also predicted Boeing would win at ITC.
Until he sees the redacted decision, Perry can only speculate. But the fact Boeing didn’t offer the 737-700 or 737-7 to Delta and told the airline it wouldn’t have had delivery slots available until 2022 may have been the key, Perry says. Delta wanted deliveries beginning in 2018.
Boeing offered Delta 19 used Embraer E190s, which Delta purchased, and used 717s, but there weren’t enough of these to satisfy Delta’s needs.
Perry said he was “stunned” by the decision and termed it “very unusual.”
Boeing has 30 days to file a notice of appeal to the Court of International Trade (CIT). But the likelihood of success is said to be small, says Perry. The CIT rarely overturns the ITC, he said.
An appeal to the World Trade Organization through the US Trade Representative isn’t procedurally possible, Perry said.
In the meantime, Airbus and Bombardier officials were in Montreal today discussing integration issues of the former’s agreement to acquire 50.01% of the C Series program.
Officials at Bombardier and Airbus told LNC in advance of the ITC ruling that they plan to proceed with the Alabama C Series Final Assembly Line.