Boeing Hurt By U.S. – China Trade War

By Spyros Georgilidakis | May 27, 2024

Boeing has not delivered any aircraft in China recently, because of what appear to be trade restrictions, involving newly-certified parts.

China and the United States have had tense trade relations in recent years, adding to the headaches of Boeing. The Asian country is a major market for both Boeing and Airbus, and the American manufacturer has repeatedly stated that the current environment is benefiting its competitor.

Boeing Hurt By U.S. – China Trade War
Photo: Windmemories, CC BY-SA 4.0

But the latest trade issue between China, the United States, and Boeing involves an innovation that seems unlikely to cause trouble. It is about the new 25-hour Cockpit Voice Recorders (CVRs). The FAA recently made these devices mandatory for airlines operating in the U.S.

However, CVRs with a 25-hour recording time are NOT new. New aircraft delivered to airlines in Europe have had such CVRs for some time now. The recording time allows investigators to examine pilot actions in events where the aircraft and crew flew on, after an incident.

Photo: N509FZ, CC BY-SA 4.0

A U.S. – China Trade War Impacting Boeing

The extra time also brings CVRs in line with Flight Data Recorders (FDRs). But the reason this appears to be a trade issue for Boeing customer airlines in China involves certain new parts in the CVRs.

Specifically, Chinese authorities are conducting a review of the batteries used in these devices. The country’s authorities have recently imposed sanctions on certain U.S. companies, and forbidden others from selling products to companies in China. Some of these actions involve companies making military sales in Taiwan.

Boeing Hurt By U.S. – China Trade War
Photo: Boeing

As this Boeing story broke out last week, the United States imposed new trade sanctions on a list of goods from China. There were also moves to limit certain systems of Chinese origin from use on U.S. military equipment, including drones.

At the end of last year, Boeing reportedly had an inventory of around 85 already-built aircraft, awaiting delivery to Chinese airlines. Boeing planned to deliver ALL of these aircraft to their customers before 2024. But as a result of the issues above, Boeing hasn’t made any aircraft deliveries to China for several weeks.


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