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US companies are still suffering from the trade war Washington has maintained

News that Airbus will sell 292 planes to Chinese airlines in a blockbuster deal worth $37 billion proves that the efforts by the Netherlands-headquartered plane manufacturer to tap into the vast Chinese market — including building a local final assembly line in Tianjin — have paid off. It is a win-win for both China and Europe.

Given its decades-long competition with Airbus for dominance in the world’s second-largest aviation market, this has been interpreted as a heavy blow to its US archrival Boeing. And by some as a message to the United States. “This is China sending a sign, and it hurts Boeing terribly,” a Bloomberg report said.

The US-based airplane manufacturer was more straightforward in response to the biggest purchase order made by Chinese carriers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. “As a top US exporter with a 50-year relationship with China’s aviation industry, it is disappointing that geopolitical differences continue to constrain US aircraft exports.”

The statement points to one aspect behind the deal, but it is an oversimplification of the causes for the sharp decline in orders from the Chinese market. So far this year, Boeing has delivered just one commercial jet to China as compared to 47 by Airbus. The US company’s poor sales performance can also be attributed to uncertainty over Boeing’s 737 MAX planes — which were suspended from use in the country after deadly crashes in 2019 — as well as a series of production issues.

The US’ decoupling policy also deters China from buying Boeing planes as the after-sales services and maintenance will be subject to the whim of some US politicians’ will.

Many Chinese companies have already fallen victims to the US-initiated confrontation against China on the trade and technology fronts, with many having suffered from export controls, divestment orders, sanctions and tariffs imposed on them by the US government, in the name of safeguarding the US’ national security and economic interests. Telecommunications giant Huawei, for example, suffered its biggest-ever decline in revenue in the first half of 2021 after the US imposed sanctions.

Under such circumstances, it is naive to believe that US companies including Boeing would be able to remain unaffected by the worsening Sino-US trade and economic relations and continue to tap into and benefit from China’s vast market.

Boeing’s setback in the Chinese market reflects the extent to which the trade war launched by Washington has damaged the once booming, and mutually beneficial economic and trade relations between the two economies.

Hopefully, those in Washington responsible for the dire situation will wake up to the folly of their way of doing business.
Source: China Daily

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