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Boeing CEO sees large order of aircraft under any US-China trade agreement



By Eric M. Johnson

EVERETT, Wash. (Reuters) – Boeing Co said on Tuesday that a flight order from China could result from any deal to end a year-long trade war between the world's two largest economies. [1

9659003] Boeing Chief Dennis Muilenburg, who spoke to Reuters at the Planners' widebody aircraft factory in Everett, warned that it was "tough to predict" the timing of a potential US-China trade deal.

"It's been challenging," said Muilenburg. "But in the end, I think they will find a solution because of the mutual interest, and we believe our aviation business will be part of the final solution."

"We hope that if there is a trade solution, it will be beneficial for airline bookings as well," he added, saying that a healthy aviation industry benefits both countries.

Chicago-based Boeing calls itself the top US exporter and has delivered more than one in four jetliners it made last year to customers in China, predicting demand for 7,700 new aircraft over the next 20 years, valued to $ 1.2 trillion.

But high tariffs between the United States and China, ready to overtake the United States as the world's largest aviation market in the next decade, have slowed the global economy and forced Boeing to undergo a geopolitical tightening for more than a year.

On the one hand, Boeing has increased its industrial footprint in China, as it aims to increase its sales leader over Europe's Airbus SE in Asia. On the other hand, leaders have been hurting to avoid clashes with US President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly said that the United States must take steps to protect US jobs and technology.

Analysts say that China has been slow to order flights from both Boeing and Europe's Airbus SE while the economy is waving and holding major acquisition decisions pending the outcome of the conflict with the United States.

"It is difficult to predict whether or not a successful agreement will be achieved," Muilenburg said. "China has not ordered airplanes for the past year, year and a half. The excited demand signal is still there. The need for air is real."

In March, Reuters reported that the prospect of a larger potential order for more than 100 jets, worth over $ 10 billion at list prices, had increased after Washington and Beijing cited some progress in talks to resolve their month-long trade war.

Boey's flight orders have also been clouded by the founding of the planner-selling 737 MAX jetliner in the wake of two crashes that killed 346 people.

& # 39; BALANCED SOLUTION & # 39;

Muilenburg's comments come after China's foreign ministry on Tuesday said it hoped Washington could create terms for talks, but that it had not heard of a recent US-China telephone conversation about trade.

Trump on Monday predicted a trade agreement with China, citing what he described as growing economic pressure on Beijing and job losses in China. [19659016] His comments calmed the global markets that have been fueled by new tariffs. He also appeared to back up his threat to order US companies out of China.

"We have been advocates for finding a balanced solution," Muilenburg said. "We're going to keep doing it."

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Matthew Lewis)


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