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Boeing, Airbus fret over trade war as China displays aviation ambitions

Reuters  |  ZHUHAI, China 

By Stella and Brenda Goh

ZHUHAI, (Reuters) - The world's two largest planemakers signalled on Tuesday that they were keen to see an end to a bruising trade war between and Beijing, as opened its largest airshow with a display that showcased its aviation ambitions.

and made their comments on the opening day of the biennial Airshow China, being held in the coastal city of from Nov. 6-11, that is traditionally an event for to parade its growing aviation prowess.

has become a key hunting ground for deals for foreign aviation firms thanks to surging travel demand, but the outlook has been complicated by Beijing's desire to grow its own champions in industries ranging from aviation to to robots.

Its ties with the have in particular been strained. criticises China for what he sees as intellectual property theft, entry barriers to U.S. business and a gaping trade deficit, while calls the complaints unreasonable. The two sides have resorted to tit-for-tat tariffs on goods worth billions of dollars.

While U.S.-made aircraft, among America's biggest exports to China, have so far escaped Beijing's tariffs, analysts said they were still waiting to see what the trade war would spell for U.S. companies such as

George Xu, the top China at Boeing's biggest rival Airbus, said at a conference that the European planemaker did not expect a sales windfall from the tensions.

"I am Chinese and we don't like this kind of trade war," he said. "Nobody will be the winner in this kind of trade war."

had hoped to close a deal for 184 aircraft during a trip to China by French in January, but negotiations appear to have stalled, industry sources say.

In carefully worded comments, Boeing's senior vice-of sales, Rick Anderson, said China was a rapidly growing aviation market and that he believed and understood that.

"We continue to engage with leaders of and China, and continue to urge productive conversation to resolve the trade discrepancies," he said.

"We are optimistic for a quick solution."

AMBITIONS ON DISPLAY

China and have in recent days stoked optimism that a breakthrough might be made, after Trump spoke by phone with President last week.

The two countries have also announced that they will hold a delayed top-level security dialogue on Friday.

Still, Beijing has shown little sign of taming its ambitions to catch up with rivals like the United States, and in high-end technology.

Projects being showcased in included a full-scale mock-up of a widebody CR929 jet being jointly developed by of China and Russia's (UAC) in hopes of eventually competing with Boeing's 787 and Airbus' jets.

The global market for widebody jets is estimated to be worth $2.5 trillion over the next two decades, according to Boeing, with the fleet size more than doubling to 9,180 jets.

Widebodies account for around 20 percent of projected global jet deliveries over that period but almost 40 percent by value.

Hundreds of spectators and industry executives at the airshow were also treated to a roaring flight demonstration that involved three of China's Chengdu stealth fighters, which debuted at the show two years ago with a 60-second flypast.

China put the into service last year that experts say is a part of Beijing's plan to narrow a military with the United States and its stealth fighter.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh, Stella and Tim Hepher; Writing by Brenda Goh; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, November 06 2018. 16:05 IST
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