Sanctions 'could hurt aviation industry'

By Qin Jize (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-02-02 06:46
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Boeing China says it has not received any notice from govt

The chief of the global airline industry body yesterday expressed concern over Beijing's planned sanctions against US companies involved in arms sales to Taiwan, and called for fresh talks between Beijing and Washington over the issue.

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Financial Times cited Giovanni Bisignani, director-general of the International Air Transport Association, as saying aerospace leaders fear the sanctions and hoped the two sides avert conflict through negotiation.

"At a moment in which the world is in crisis (and) China is playing a very important role in overcoming and pushing for recovery it would be a very, very difficult and unhappy situation" for sanctions to be imposed, he said as industry leaders gathered in Singapore for Asia's biggest air show.

The Obama administration announced on Friday a $6.4 billion arms sale to Taiwan, and the deal includes 60 Black Hawk helicopters, 114 Patriot missiles and systems supplied by Boeing, United Technologies, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.

The Foreign Ministry responded immediately: Beijing would not only cut security cooperation with Washington but also impose unprecedented sanctions on US firms involved.

The China office of Boeing told China Daily yesterday that it had yet to receive any notice of the sanctions, insisting that the arms sales was a decision by the US government.

Boeing China's spokesman Wang Yukui added that China is an important market for the company's civilian aircraft.

Chris Chadwick, president of Boeing's military aircraft division, told Bloomberg in Singapore: "The Boeing company stands side-by-side with China to try to create a good relationship and we continue to do that."

More than half of the aircraft flown by China's airlines are Boeing or McDonell-Douglas jets, and just keeping them maintained and supplied with parts is a huge part of Boeing's global business.

Boeing has contracted hundreds of millions of dollars worth of parts for its 787 Dreamliner to Chinese suppliers, and more than a third of its aircraft have major parts made or assembled in China.

But military observers in China said Beijing should punish private companies to teach them a lesson.

Rear-Admiral Yang Yi at the University of National Defense said large civilian-military enterprises are behind the arms sales. "They expect us to buy their airplanes and products while selling weapons to Taiwan and interfering in China's internal affairs," Yang said. "Why can't we fight back? The sanctions just serve them right."

Yang said the next step is to await the announcement of details of the sanctions.

"I hope the Chinese government sticks to its words," Yang added.