China's planned tariffs on US business jets may do little to buoy rivals despite concerns the moves could create an unequal playing field in the fast-growing China market, aviation executives said in Shanghai on Monday. China earlier this month announced retaliatory tariffs against key US imports, among which is a proposed 25 percent tariff on US aircraft with an "empty weight" of between 15,000 kilograms and 45,000 kilograms.
The growing trade spat between Beijing and Washington creates a potential threat to U.S. plane makers including Boeing Co and Gulfstream, which could see prices of some planes rise. European rivals, however, said it wasn't so clear-cut. "You have many other parameters that lead to a sale. Price is one of them, but not the only one," said Carlos Brana, senior vice president of civil aircraft at Dassault Aviation .
The category impacted by the potential tariffs would include General Dynamics Corp's popular Gulfstream G550 and G650s and the larger Boeing Business Jet 1 that competes against models from European rival Airbus SE. "Our view is that trade war benefits nobody," said David Velupillai, marketing director at Airbus Corporate Jets at a press conference on Monday ahead of the Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition in Shanghai.
Thanks to demand from China's newly minted billionaires and globally minded state-owned enterprises, the growth of its business jet fleet has outpaced that of other countries in the region, making it a key target market for private jet makers.
At the end of 2017, there were 1,179 jets in the Asia Pacific region, up 2.1 percent from a year earlier, according to a report published by aviation consultancy Asian Sky Group on Monday.
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