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Boeing says committed to UK, listened to concerns over Northern Ireland jobs

BELFAST (Reuters) - Boeing (BA.N) said on Wednesday it had listened to Britain's concerns about jobs in Northern Ireland after it won the first round of a trade battle with Canada's Bombardier (BBDb.TO), the region's biggest manufacturer.

A spokesman said the U.S. aerospace giant remained committed to Britain after UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon warned Boeing it could lose out on UK defense contracts because of its dispute with its Canadian rival.

The U.S. Commerce Department on Tuesday slapped preliminary anti-subsidy duties on Bombardier's CSeries jets after Boeing accused Canada of unfairly subsidizing the aircraft.

"We have heard and understand the concerns from the prime minister and the government about Bombardier workers in Northern Ireland. Boeing is committed to the UK and values the partnership, which stretches back almost 80 years," the spokesman for Boeing UK said by email.

The company has doubled its direct employment in the UK since 2011 and tripled its spending, he said.

"Any claimed economic threat to Bombardier is due to the weakness of its product in the marketplace," he added.

(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Victoria Bryan)