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Trump unveils tariff plan on Chinese aircraft imports

Aircraft, jet engines and helicopters made in China are among 1,300 product categories that will face a 25% tariff if imported into the USA, the Trump Administration proposed on 3 April.

The sweeping trade action comes in response to what the Trump Administration considers unfair trade practices by the Chinese government, the US Trade Representative’s (USTR) office says.

Chinese policies on “technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation covered in the investigation are unreasonable or discriminatory and burden or restrict US commerce,” the USTR adds in a notice published in the Federal Register.

The announcement by the USTR starts a six-week comment period before the tariffs can become final, leading to a hearing by the US International Trade Commission on 15 May.

If the tariffs are approved, China’s relatively small but rapidly growing aviation industry faces a large economic cost.

The tariffs would be enacted just as several Chinese aviation products – such as the ARJ21 regional jet, C919 airliner and CR 929, which is jointly produced with Russia – are in various stages of production or development.

No US customer has ordered or expressed interest in any Chinese-made commercial airliner. Instead, all three projects are likely to feature major US companies as Tier 1 suppliers for engines and aircraft systems.

The tariffs also would fall hard on China’s indigenous industry building commercial helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, including CAIGA.

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