OLYMPIA – Last Friday, The Seattle Times reported that Boeing is “close to reaching a deal with the Chinese government to open a 737 jet completion and delivery center in China.” According to a source interviewed by the Times, the details could be announced during the upcoming Seattle visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Currently, all 737 jets are assembled, finished and certified in Washington state before delivery to international customers. Under Boeing’s new deal with China, 737 airframes ordered by Chinese airlines would still be assembled in Washington, but shipped to China for “installation of interiors, exterior painting, customer flight tests and delivery,” according to the Times. The Times reports Chinese airlines have accounted for nearly 23 percent of all deliveries so far this year.
Peterson has issued the following statement:
“Year after year Boeing’s hired lobbyists come to Olympia asking for new or extended tax breaks. Without them, we’re warned, the company will have to send jobs elsewhere. But despite getting what it asked for multiple times, Boeing has sent jobs to other states like South Carolina, and now it sounds like it’s sending them overseas.
“In its new move, Boeing is claiming this will be a win-win — a finishing plant in China will supposedly result in more contracts from Chinese airlines, which would mean increased production and a net job gain here in Washington. But for the Washington employee who just lost her job painting planes, this is just a loss. In fact, it’s only a win-win for Boeing and China.
“Boeing is important to Washington, it’s part of our DNA and the fabric of our state’s history. But so far it hasn’t lived up to its promise to keep jobs here in exchange for lucrative corporate handouts in the form of tax breaks.
“I supported two bills to hold Boeing more accountable and tie their tax breaks to job creation and good wages. These are commonsense policies that many states, including South Carolina, already have in place. Those same lobbyists sat in my office trying to convince me that these two bills weren’t necessary — that they were going to keep jobs in Washington. I told them the $8.7 billion that our state has given Boeing is an investment in the company’s future, which is an important part of Washington’s economy. However, without job and wage requirements, it is simply a handout to big business and that is unacceptable.
“As we approach Boeing’s centennial anniversary, Washington workers are poised and prepared to continue to make Boeing a successful company. Meanwhile, we wait once again to see what Boeing will do to Washington workers. I call on the company to consider its promises to the taxpayers of this state. I hope Boeing will do the right thing.”
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