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tv   Spotlight  BBC News  January 24, 2018 11:30pm-12:01am GMT

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--v -- v dup. within days, govern more. —— v dup. within days, govern support was in display on parliament. will no stone unturned. —— will leave. 12 meetings with boeing executives. dup seemed reassured that the game was being upped. i greatly appreciate the work thus far and even the presence of the northern ireland secretary, the defence procurement minister. even the foreign secretary was present. another political chamber and the 93v another political chamber and the gay partridge seeks similar support. we need you to put your support to drop this case, if the air were to pull out a belfast it would have ace serious impact. presentation over, shejoined me in the public gallery. did it go 0k? it's really nerve wracking down there, so it is. no need to worry,
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the backing was unanimous. this is one of those occasions where we can and we have united. and, lord mayor, our party will also be supporting this motion tonight. the entire number of members here voted for the motion, and so the motion is carried. thank you. thank you very much. the hopes of the workers now rest in the hands of politicians. it's over to the government now to act. economist richard ramsey believes the huge size of bombardier in northern ireland means that if it sank it could bring so much down with it that everyone would feel its effects. it's one of our top exporters, top r&d spenders, top employers and you take bombardier out of the equation and that would blow a hole in our overall performance. ultimately you're then going to see less money going through the northern ireland economy. this small economy is suddenly caught in a dispute involving one the biggest companies in the world, boeing, and one of the biggest forces in global politics. we want products made by our workers. in ourfactories.
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stamped with those four magnificent words: "made in the usa." we've seen that northern ireland has become at the frontline of donald trump's america first policy. so how did this happen? it's all to do with the uk and canadian government money used in making the c series plane and its belfast—built wings. a heart—warming sight for northern ireland — a 100 tonne transport aircraft. if the planes achieve the expected demand, it means a lot of employment in ulster. big aviation projects always promise plenty of good jobs, but they often require plenty of government support. bombardier‘s c series 7 a 21st century airplane designed for 21st—century airlines. a brand new plane with the wings designed and made in belfast. i want to congratulate
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the workforce on everything that they have achieved. it has made it possible for us to give the grants and help. this help for the c series wings was £113 million from the government. a repayable loan or a subsidy? it's that government money which is now at the heart of this dispute. and here's what that money helped build. swiss, one of the few airlines with c series already in service. so, the head height is good. even for someone tall like me. ladies and gentlemen... those belfast—built wings help make the plane more fuel efficient, saving money for airlines. this plane can fly transatlantic, but it may never reach the us. unexpected turbulence amid political climate change has
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hit the c series hard. call it storm trump. we are going to enforce our trade rules and stop foreign cheating. tremendous cheating. but who's cheating on whom? labour fears belfast workers have been sacrificed by a government focused on brexit and cosying up to trump? are they afraid of being exposed in northern ireland for their failure to protectjobs or are they so keen to score a sweetheart trade deal with the us that they simply want to wash their hands of this matter? it's a charge the government strongly rejects. but labour has demanded evidence. in this key exchange, the business secretary was asked in october if he had engaged with the us authorities who will ultimately decide the case — the trade commission.
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what attempts have the government made thus far to provide evidence to the us independent trade commission? in terms of submitting evidence to the trade commission in the united states, this has indeed been provided. i wanted to find out what evidence was submitted because it's the us trade commission that decides on friday if sales of the c series harmed boeing. if there's no harm, the case ends. so how the uk government argues its case is vital for workers in belfast. ian mullan works in the warehouse and helps load the massive c series wings for delivery. it's a very good job to have, and i am classed as unskilled and i have managed to get a mortgage and a car and everything out of it and support a family with it. my dad worked here with me, i have uncles that work here and have retired
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from here as well. thousands more jobs outside of bombardier also benefit from its work. here is marlborough engineering, that's a company that is based just round the corner from here, and just behind us on another staging there's a sign for barbour engineering, based in bangor. it's jobs here versus jobs in the us. the argument from boeing is that this place was built with the help of public money with handouts, a subsidy and therefore it's not fair. well, i think they're wrong, because the uk government did give bombardier money to build this factory. however, it was not a given, it was a loan and we have to repay the money. so why do the us authorities think the loan is unfair? i went to washington to find out, and see what the uk government had been doing here for bombardier workers. it's not the first time the us has expressed concern about that government money for bombardier.
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us trade representatives threatened action nearly a decade ago when it was first revealed, but nothing happened. until in 2016 bombardier won a major orderfrom a us airline for c series planes. now they were entering american airspace with help from foreign governments, and us rival boeing wasn't happy. it compiled a petition alleging unfair competition. and fired it straight into the arms of the trump administration. it landed first at the department of commerce. theirjob is to promote the us economy. and this time the authorities sprang into action. remember that repayable loan from the uk government to bombardier? what if it's not, in fact, repayable? buried within around 7000 pages of documents the uk government
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submitted to the commerce department i've discovered a key fact about that loan. and it may hold the secret of why the commerce department believes the government money to bombardier was unfair to boeing. and what this document reveals is that if something goes wrong beyond bombardier‘s control it's the government, not bombardier, that is on the hook for the lot. in that case, the repayable loan won't be repaid. this is the seal of the international trade commission. it really does stand for that notion of equality, justice, fairness. professorjennifer hillman is a formerjudge at the trade commission. she feels what i've uncovered is key to the case. in us eyes the loan isn't commercial — it's a handout. if the repayable launch investment isn't ultimately repayable, is that relevant? yes, it is. by guaranteeing in the end
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of the day that if all else fails the uk government will step in, the government is assuming a lot of risk. the fact that the government is taking on that risk turns it from being a commercially viable loan into a subsidy. so that's why the commerce department wants tariffs of nearly 300% to remain. but the final decision has now shifted to the itc and another uk government tactic won't help. can theresa may phoning donald trump stop this case? no. it is decided by an independent agency, the international trade commission, and there is literally nothing that donald trump can do to stop it. but if a us president can't stop it, could a european giant? bombardier‘s chief exec celebrated as airbus agreed to take a majority stake in the troubled c series jet project. airbus plans to partner on the c series and avoid tariffs by assembling the planes in america in two years' time. but the itc is dealing
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with the here and now, it decides if boeing was harmed. that's the decision that is pending right now and in front of the itc. they will make that determination. regardless of the airbus deal? regardless of the airbus deal. so it's bad news for bombardier on three fronts — the airbus deal may not get round the tariffs, the political lobbying of trump and others can't stop the case and because the repayable loan isn't necessarily repayable it gives boeing a strong argument for imposing tariffs. the painful irony is that the money that helped bring those c series jobs to belfast could now spell disaster for the entire operation. at the final itc hearing in december the uk government stood accused of promoting unfair competition. so everything now hinges on the itc and what they decide.
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they're holding a public hearing, and we're off there now. the room is packed to capacity. trade disputes don't get any bigger than this. it doesn't work when foreign governments tilt the field for the benefit of the c series. a plane that wouldn't even exist were it not for government subsidies. the boeing boss highlights the tough action canada has taken directly in reponse to the case. last week, canada cancelled a $5 billion order for boeing fighterjets just because we brought this case. but, unlike canada, the uk has not taken tough action against boeing and hasn't cancelled contracts. the uk ambassador, sir kim darroch, instead argues that boeing, not bombardier, is the one receiving handouts. boeing argue that they are attacking bad subsidies including a uk government loan for the development of wings in northern ireland. yet boeing itself enjoys billions of dollars of us
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government subsidies. but, fair or not, us subsidies aren't under scrutiny. in the us, most legal papers are publicly available, so, i want to take a deeper dive and find out exactly what the uk government has done. the key submissions to the itc are lengthy and detailed, well. . . most of them. this is bombardier‘s latest submission to the itc — its pre—hearing brief. it's almost 800 pages, and it's quite heavy. this is the canadian government's. more than 170 pages here. and this is what the uk government submitted. with 4,000 jobs at stake, there's four pages of argument. as they say here, you do the math.
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unlike at the itc, there were 7000 pages submitted to the commerce department, where the uk lost the argument against tariffs. in documents there, i found bizarre excuses from uk officials for late replies. like this one. it says that the department for international trade is a new department moving into a new building and that it hasn't unpacked all of its files. a month later, the uk government's legal team writes again asking for more time. this time, the lawyers tell the us commerce department that they can't meet the deadline because northern ireland civil servants are on holiday because of the twelfth fortnight. and there's a strange phrase that keeps cropping up. it first appears in this letter of the 26th of may but it's in almost every piece of uk government correspondence. "the british government does not consider itself a legally proper party to this matter." time and again, in black and white, the government seems to be saying
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this case is nothing to do with them. so, what does former itcjudge jennifer hillman make of this? is it unfair to compare 175 pages from the government of canada with four pages from the uk government? well, it is clear that the uk government has not come in full force, certainly not at the international trade commission? is it good enough to state we are not part of this? no. any questions that you leave unanswered, the presumption will be that the reason you didn't answer them is it is bad news. and what about those excuses for late responses offered by the uk, the unopened boxes, the 12th fortnight? all of the deadlines are literally carved into the statute, so the deadlines are very real, they are absolutely set by the law and are simply never missed. home time for workers in washington.
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can the bombardier workers dare to hope their dreams won't end here? could the itc still vote no to tariffs and save the day? jennifer hillman says they could. the itc at this point is absolutely critical and there is a good chance that the itc could vote no. historically, 60% of the cases go no. in which case, the case stops. before i left washington, i called gaye. hello,jim. hi, gaye. how are you? i'm very well. thank you. to reveal that the repayable loan was being treated as a subsidy. well, what are your thoughts? that is a surprise. oh, that is the first time i have heard that. but i did reasure her that there was still hope with the itc.
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bombardier is based in east belfast mp gavin robinson's constituency. his vote at westminster, and that of his dup colleagues, keeps the government in power. i wanted to know if he was fully aware of how the government had behaved. it turned out, he wasn't. you did at the time back in october call on both the canadians and the uk government to up their game. i have some documents here i can show you. this is the canadian submission to the international trade commission. have you seen that at all? literally, you can feel the weight perhaps of their argument there. that's what the canadian government submitted. but let me just show you what the uk government submitted to the itc. do you notice a difference there? well, there's a clear difference
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in volume but this is a dispute between a canadian company and a united states company. but are you happy that, for 4 000 jobs, the uk government's submission to the itc was effectively four pages of argument? well, i don't think that's a fair way to summarise it. this is a canadian company. this is a canadian aircraft. so, leave it up to canada to sort this out? no. you're supposed to have clout with the government. what have they done in this case to protect those jobs? i think, jim, you are in danger of trivialising what has been going on over the last number of months. no, i'm not the... i didn't submit the four pages that government have submitted, four pages of argument. so, the question is who is trivialising this? who has treated it seriously and submittedm you knowm 170—plus pages of argument, or who has perhaps not treated it seriously and submitted four pages of argument? but i think, to focus on that submission
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is to do a huge disservice. gavin robinson is also a qualified barrister. i thought maybe the government might have briefed him on their legal strategy. they hadn't. we interviewed an expert in the united states, who was a judge at the itc for nine years, and her view having looked at the uk submissions was that it hadn't come in full force. in fact, the uk government argued that it's not legally proper party to the dispute and it almost seemed to be suggesting the dispute had nothing to do with them. were you aware that that was the legal argument they were taking? no. i'll be very interested then if you've got that information then please share it with me. from my perspective, all of this very useful for me to take back and to make sure that what we do and what we engage in on behalf of bombardier in making sure that we can stand up for the compa ny?s successfully is to have this sort of information. so, belatedly.
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it is publicly available, if you know where to find it. belatedly. thank you for sharing it with me. the government's case to the itc doesn't appear convincing — even to themselves. earlier this month, the aerospace minister said he expected to lose at the itc. my expectation is that things will not be very different from what's already been determined. so, the government has put together a case it expects to lose. and, it appears to have kept its dup partners in the dark. that's bad enough. but has parliament also been misled? remember this exchange. labour asks what evidence the governement has submitted. what attempts have the government made thus far to provide evidence to the us independent trade commission? in terms of submitting evidence to the trade commission in the united states, this has indeed been provided. but evidence from the government, all four pages of it, wasn't submitted to the trade commission until december. two months after the minister
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appeared to tell mps that it had been done. misleading the house can be a sackable offence. labour's 0wen smith believes the prime minister should take action if greg clark can't explain himself. i think mr clark will have been seen to have misled the house at that juncture and i think theresa may will need to address that so, how does the minister explain himself? i'm off to find out. why did you say that you had submitted evidence to the trade commission when you hadn't? the question in the house of commons was whether the itc — that's the trade commission — had received evidence. that was submitted to the itc, i think in may, by whom? that was submitted by bombardier during the periods that it was required to be. but the question to you was what had the government submitted to the itc and you said that on submission the evidence had
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been provided to the itc. why would your shadow minister question you as to what bombardier had submitted? they were surely asking you what the government had submitted and you said that evidence has indeed been provided, is that not misleading? no. it was completely right. it had been provided through all of this. but if the minister doesn't believe he misled parliament. does he believe the four—page itc submission is sufficient? when you did submit evidence as a government, it was four pages long. did a lot of work go into that? the evidence that we submitted was actually over 7,000 pages. not to the itc. those 7,000 pages went to the commerce department, where the government first tried the argument that they weren't a legal party. there are no planes that are exported from belfast, to the united states. that is clear. so, the trade dispute is between canada and the united states. but the uk argument failed
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to persuade the commerce department against tariffs. so, will it also lose out at the itc? we interviewed a former itcjudge and they said it was clear that the uk government hadn't come in full force at the itc. quite the reverse. right from the outset, we have worked vigorously. personally, i have never seen such a high level — consistent level — of engagement. i would have thought that everyone in the uk and everyone in northern ireland would want and expect the uk government and uk ministers to leave no stone unturned. they would, but you say no stone unturned, four pages looks like no effort expended. no, this is... i think you are referring to the final itc, where it is looking at the detriment to boeing. it is not about, it is not asking questions as to
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what the uk's involvement in that. so, the business secretary rejects the charge that the government didn't come in full force. labour's 0wen smith took a different view when shown the itc submission. what are your thoughts? that's all? the evidence you have provided today seems to bear out that they have been more concerned with the optics of looking to be doing a good job, defending jobs here in belfast, rather than doing so. if this government is prepared to stand by and see trump put america first, but theresa may not put britain first, not put uk jobs first, then i think legitimate questions will be asked about their fitness to remain in government. crucially, how does this play with the dup, who keep the government in power? if you feel that you have perhaps been led up the garden path does that damage the relationship between the dup and the government? well, our relationship is very clear and it's very public and it's on very particular things. so, the government can
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do whatever they want on bombardier and you will have to keep supporting them? no, that's not the case. there will be many opportunities when given the position that we have. they will find that our support could have been quite useful and it may not have been there. but let's not get ahead of ourselves. let's take account of the information that you're sharing and let's see where that takes me. i share the full picture of government activity — or inactivity — with gaye. has it been no stone unturned when you look at some of the documents there? well, it doesn't look very good. it's disappointing when you see that they only submitted four pages. it is disappointing. we're not trying to overhype the threat here but it is a real threat. 100% it's a real threat. definitely. and anybody who doesn't think like that is very, very wrong. it's 100% a real threat to all the jobs within belfast. on friday, the itc will make its final decision. the future of bombardier and its workers in belfast hangs in the balance. the government promised them
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and the dup no stone unturned. the question is, has that pledge been honoured ? meanwhile in the us, there's no question where political support lies. may god bless the united states of america and god bless boeing. hello. saturday will be wild weather. storm georgina has brought the heavy wins today, finishing off to the north—east, following in
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behind we have a real speckled cloud, quite a fuchsia hours over the next 2a hours. showers drifting into the rest of the night, some heavy with hail and thunder and wintry over high ground in the north because the air is that bit colder thanit because the air is that bit colder than it has been of late. tomorrow morning we'll start off with a lot of showers across northern ireland, scotla nd of showers across northern ireland, scotland likely to be wintry but there will be some bright or sunny spells in between the showers as the sun comes up. spells in between the showers as the sun comes up. for degrees in glasgow. scattering showers in north—west england, also some into the west midlands. cropping up, heavy, possibly thundery. through the east midlands and the south—east, the date should start off on south—east, the date should start offona south—east, the date should start off on a dry and bright note with spells of sunshine. we will watch this cluster of showers to the day tomorrow gradually working its way eastwards, the potential for heavy ones who a fund, lightning and hail. there will be some decent sunny
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spells too. breezy, not as many as it was today and temperatures at 5— 10 degrees. during tomorrow night, the showers will take awhile to fade away, drifting slowly eastwards. the sky is clearfor away, drifting slowly eastwards. the sky is clear for parts of scotland, north—east england and ireland we could easily see a touch of frost is as we head into friday morning we are looking at this bump in the isobars here. this ridge of high pressure which will be toppling its way in to give a pretty nice day on friday. a good deal of sunshine around, a bit patchy cloud. some thick cloud and perhaps raining to northern ireland later but the vast majority dry until sundowner. a fairly cool and fresh field, then we get onto the weekend. actually things will turn mild once again. a weakening weather system pushing in from the west, quite reasonable at bridges are double digits because increasingly as we go through the weekend we will be bringing mild air from the south—west to. during
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sunday again, most places up in two double digits as far as the temperatures go. quite a breezy day, quite windy to the north where there will be outbreaks of rain, sunshine into southern and eastern areas with temperatures from 9— 13 degrees. after storm georgina today, things are looking considerably quieter over the next few days. this is a newsday on the bbc. i'm rico hizon in our top stories. judgement day for a serial abuser. he receives 175 years in prison after heart rending testimony from tea m after heart rending testimony from team usa gymnast is. were ultimately strong enough to take you down. not one by one, but by an army of survivors. i will carry your words with me for the rest of my days. vetera n with me for the rest of my days. veteran us diplomat resigns from a panel on the rohingya crisis and
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