Review says Canadian controls hamper aerospace sales

Thu Nov 29, 2012 4:56pm EST
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By Nicole Mordant

(Reuters) - Canada's aerospace industry is not selling as much as it could in countries such as Russia and China because of overly zealous government enforcement of controls designed to guard against leaks of sensitive technology, an industry review released on Thursday says.

Companies in other North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries, which have more "balanced" controls, are picking up the slack, the report said.

The controls are designed to protect national security and to preserve Canada's unique trade relationship with the United States, but evidence suggests the Canadian government's interpretation and application of the controls "may be unduly sweeping and rigid, even going further, in some instances, than is typical in Washington".

"The result is lost business for Canada with no material enhancement of security," said the independent, government-mandated review, which looked into the competitiveness of Canada's aerospace and space industries.

It urged Ottawa to review its rules to see whether they are unnecessarily restrictive.

The country's aerospace sector is the fifth biggest in the world, and is dominated by Montreal-based Bombardier Inc, which is the world's No. 3 civil aircraft manufacturer. Bombardier has struggled to find customers for its all-new, narrow-body C-Series jet, which is set for its first flight by the middle of 2013.

Other prominent Canadian aerospace companies include flight simulator manufacturer CAE Inc and Heroux-Devtek, a maker of landing gear systems.

The review, which was chaired by David Emerson, a former federal minister of trade, industry and foreign affairs, also urged Canada's Conservative government to be more aggressive in opening doors for the aerospace industry in foreign markets.   Continued...