Bombardier says its rail unit can withstand 'buy America' scrutiny

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LONDON — Bombardier’s Canadian railroad operations will not become collateral damage in the tariff spat between Washington, Ottawa, and London that has engulfed its aviation operations. The U.S. has slapped a 220-percent tariff on a new line of Bombardier jets after accusations from rival aircraft maker Boeing that the Canadian company receives unfair government subsidies.

The rail arm, which has close to 4,000 employees in Canada, exports little of its production to the U.S. Instead, Bombardier employs U.S. workers at production and services sites across 12 states.

“The majority of the rail vehicles we produce for U.S. customers are manufactured or at least assembled in the U.S. Bombardier has years of experience in meeting and exceeding Buy America requirements,” says Bombardier representative Maryanne Roberts. “Bombardier has a long history of success and investment in the United
States, winning our first U.S. order in 1976.”

In 1981, Bombardier became the first non-U.S. based rail car builder to open a production facility in the U.S. Structural changes in American railroad manufacturing over recent decades have seen the demise of all-American manufacturers. This means there are no Boeing-like companies that can complain about Bombardier’s imports.

“There aren’t many U.S. rail vehicle manufacturers. Most are international companies with US assembly facilities,” she adds.

The company manufactures rail vehicles at its facility in Plattsburgh, N.Y. Two sites outside Pittsburgh, Pa., produce rail products for both domestic and export. Its range of railroad production has included 20 high speed trainsets for the Amtrak Acela Express, in partnership with France’s Alstom, more than 400 aluminum bi-level commuter cars operating in 11 metropolitan regions, nearly 500 stainless steel, multi-level vehicles in New Jersey and Maryland, and electric and dual-power locomotives with NJ Transit.
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