A detail of the engine of a Boeing Co. 737 Max 9 jetliner is seen at the company’s manufacturing facility in Renton, Washington, U.S. (Photographer: David Ryder/Bloomberg)

U.K. Fears It's Caught in `Crossfire' of Boeing-Bombardier Spat

(Bloomberg) -- The U.K. is worried about “protectionism” and how it always “ends badly” and about being caught in the “crossfire of a much larger dispute.” The spat is the one between Boeing Co. and Bombardier Inc. and it could get in the way of a British free-trade deal with the U.S.

“This is basically a U.S.-Canada dispute really, between Boeing and Bombardier: It’s much best if it’s settled with those,” International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said in a panel discussion on the sidelines of the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, northern England, on Sunday. Fox added that he doesn’t believe U.K. was in breach of state-aid rules.

U.K. Fears It's Caught in `Crossfire' of Boeing-Bombardier Spat

Fox’s approach to the whole situation is in stark contrast to that of his boss, Prime Minister Theresa May, who last week issued a veiled threat to Boeing by implying that the U.K. might reconsider its military contracts with the aircraft maker. His advice is to be diplomatic.

"If we can get them to have a resolution which is what we are trying to do quietly, behind the scenes, then so much the better,” he said.