Boeing Opens First 737 Aircraft Factory in China
Sunday, December 16[/rtl]
Boeing and Airbus aim to expand sales in China and compete for orders in the fast-growing market, which is expected to overtake the United States in the next decade.
Boeing invested $ 33 billion last year to acquire a majority stake in a joint venture with Chinese state-owned Comac, which specializes in commercial aircraft, to build the assembly center.
Chicago-based Boeing describes itself as the largest US exporter and delivered one in four aircraft manufactured last year to customers in China, expecting demand in the next 20 years to reach 7,700 new aircraft worth $ 1.2 trillion.
But the opening of the plant was overshadowed by a climate of tension between the United States and China, triggered by a war of customs duties. The two largest economies in the world in a 90-day truce to negotiate a trade agreement.
"I am disturbed by the situation, of course, yes, it is an environment that challenges," Boeing President John Bruns told reporters at a telephone conference earlier on Saturday.
"We have to keep our eyes on the long-term strategy in China, and for the long term, I am optimistic that we will find our way and move forward in this direction."
While trade disputes have hurt business activities, including US soybeans and Chinese manufacturing companies, their impact on Boeing is unclear. Aircraft manufactured in the United States have so far escaped Chinese tariffs.
He said he was still optimistic about the outcome of US-China trade talks, describing the aviation sector as a "bright spot" amid tensions between the two countries.
In response to a question about the possibility of reaching technology transfer agreements between Boeing and Comac, he stressed that the purpose of the factory is to install seats and paint the aircraft and complete the final delivery of aircraft.
"This is only part of what we do in aircraft production."
The US company eventually aims to reach a target delivery rate of 100 aircraft per year in Zhoushan, although Mr Bruns tried to avoid answering a question on how to reach that level quickly and said Boeing had no plans to expand the scope of work to other aircraft.