The Bush administration will not tolerate what it sees as European restrictions and product specifications that militate against US exports, according to the Aerospace Industries Association. The association has also served notice that it will lobby the US government to increase NASA budgets to more realistic levels.
While the US president himself has been doing the rounds of European leaders on his first visit this side of the Atlantic, members of his administration have been at the show making the case against trade restrictions.
Secretary of Commerce Don Evans and Secretary of Transport Norman Mineta have both visited the show, meeting US exhibitors and lobbying on their behalf. Early indications are that the Bush team will take a hard line in backing US aerospace interests. Speaking at the Global Solutions Pavilion's seminar on future challenges to the industry, John Douglass, president of the US Aerospace Industries Association, relayed a robust message to his European counterparts.
"There has been a tendency for ICAO to make decisions and for Europeans to go off and make regulations which mean European products can operate in Europe while US ones cannot. The new administration will not tolerate that in any form," said Douglass. But his message to the government on NASA budgets was equally clear. "I don't think there's currently anything we do in the US that doesn¹t get more that NASA. "There is a list of ridiculous expenditures which get more than NASA. Even in its heyday of the 60s NASA's budget was less that the US spent on cigarettes." Douglass praised the diplomacy skills of David Marshall, director general of the Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC) who has been instrumental in ensuring transatlantic communication. "But there is much work to do," he said. Marshall, also participating in the seminar, said that addressing environmental issues as well as the problem of recruiting young people into aviation are two of the critical challenges facing the industry. "This industry has a very good record on the environment. But it is a very visible industry and there is still a lot of work to be done in getting the message across to the public. It's vital that we address this issue as an industry and not along national lines."
Source: Flight Daily News