Politics

US Grants GE License to Sell Engines for Chinas New Airplane

The Trump administration on April 7 granted a license to General Electric to supply engines for Chinas new COMAC C919 passenger jet, a spokeswoman for the company said.

Early this year, the United States was weighing whether to deny GEs latest license request to provide the CFM LEAP-1C engine for the narrow-body COMAC jet, which is expected to go into service next year.

The U.S. Department of Commerce, which issues such licenses, declined to comment, saying it cannot discuss individual license applications. The White House also declined to comment.

But in February, President Donald Trump intervened, criticizing U.S. proposals that would prevent companies from supplying jet engines and other components to Chinas budding aviation industry.

President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks at the White House in Washington on April 7, 2020. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

“I want China to buy our jet engines, the best in the World,” Trump tweeted on Feb. 18. “I want to make it EASY to do business with the United States, not difficult. Everyone in my Administration is being so instructed, with no excuses…”

Trump downplayed national security concerns. “Were not going to be sacrificing our companies … by using a fake term of national security. Its got to be real national security. And I think people were getting carried away with it,” he told reporters.

GE had received licenses for the LEAP engines since 2014 and was last granted one in March 2019, as the C919 plane was developed and began to engage in test flights.

Such licenses are typically valid for four years with a defined quantity and value, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The engine is a joint venture between GE and Frances Safran Aircraft Engines.

“We received notification that GE Aviation has license approval for engines for the C919,” a GE spokeswoman told Reuters on Tuesday.

Safran confirmed GE received the license approval.

COMAC was not immediately available for comment.

Men work with a jet engine at a General Electric (GE) aviation engine overhaul facility in Petropolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Men work with a jet engine at a General Electric (GE) aviation engine overhaul facility in Petropolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Men work with a jet engine at a General Electric aviation engine overhaul facility in Petropolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on June 8, 2016. (Yasuyoshi Chiba/ARead More – Source