Canada scraps buying 18 Boeing fighter jets amid trade dispute

USN F18 Super Hornet

Instead, the Liberal government will announce next week it intends to buy a used fleet of older Australia F-18 jets, the same kind of plane Canada now operates, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation.

Canada is scrapping a plan to buy 18 new Boeing Super Hornet fighter jets and will instead buy surplus Australian F-18s, according to a report from Reuters news agency.

Global News, however, noted that statisticians with both the US and Canadian governments agree that the USA enjoys a $12-billion trade surplus with Canada, when the value of services - as opposed to goods - is factored in.

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The Canadian government announced in 2016 it would purchase 18 planes from Boeing.

Some are also wondering whether the Liberals, who had promised to launch a formal fighter-jet competition before the 2019 election, now plan to hold off until after Canadians go to the polls. They would supplement Canada's existing CF-18 fleet until a new aircraft could be acquired.

The move comes in response to a 220 percent tariff placed the United States on Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier after Boeing accused the company of dumping airliners on the American market. Boeing alleged that Bombardier was selling the planes at "absurdly low" prices, and the Department of Commerce imposed a preliminary 300 percent import duty on Bombardier's CS 100 planes.

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Speaking to The Globe and Mail in September, Boeing International president Marc Allen said the federal government should not forget that Boeing does $4-billion a year of business in Canada, with 560 suppliers and an overall impact of 17,000 jobs. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at the time the country would not engage in business with Boeing till such time its dispute with Bombardier continued, a sentiment he repeated to President Donald Trump in October.

But several sources tell The Canadian Press that defence officials don't expect the first new plane to be delivered for another eight years, which would put the time frame around 2026. "It would be a deeply unfortunate outcome", he said.

"We have tremendous losses with Mexico and losses with Canada, and covered by NAFTA".

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At a conference in Boston in November, Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare said: "Boeing is underestimating what they are tackling". "Unfortunately, I think they're taking advantage of a [political] context that's favourable to them".

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