LONDON (Reuters) - Britain said on Tuesday it was "vitally important" that a trade dispute between U.S. plane maker Boeing Co and its Canadian rival Bombardier, a major employer in Northern Ireland, was settled.


In April, Boeing asked the U.S. Commerce Department to investigate alleged subsidies and unfair pricing for Bombardier's CSeries airplane, accusing the Canadian company of having sold 75 of the planes to Delta Air Lines Inc last year at a price well below cost.


Asked by a lawmaker in parliament whether the government would stand firmly behind Bombardier, Claire Perry, Minister for Climate Change and Industry, said: "It is vitally important that we have this dispute settled and we create the environment for many manufacturing companies in this vital sector to thrive and grow."


Bombardier is Northern Ireland's largest manufacturing employer and the government is pressing Boeing to drop its challenge, with Prime Minister Theresa May raising the issue with U.S. President Donald Trump in a call earlier this month.


(Reporting by Michael Holden, Editing by Kylie MacLellan)