Trump administration eyes proposal to block jet engine sales to China: report

The Trump administration is mulling a proposal to block General Electric (GE) jet engine sales to China, Reuters reported Saturday. 

The U.S. government will consider whether to stop selling GE engines to China for its first large commercial passenger jet, potentially affecting China’s ability to enter the market, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. 

The aircraft expected to go in service next year goes by the name COMAC C919, an acronym for Commercial Aircraft Corp of China Ltd.

The administration is deciding whether or not to deny a license request from GE and France’s Safran SA to provide a CFM LEAP-1C engine for China’s newly developed aircraft, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. The company has sold engines to China with approved licenses since 2014, with the latest license permission in March 2019. 

The possible denial raises concerns about whether the government will ban the sale of other products used for the Chinese aircraft. The administration has previously given licenses to companies to sell engines, flight control systems and other parts for the commercial aircraft.

The decision is expected to be discussed during an interagency meeting Thursday revolving around how to reduce the number of exports of U.S. technology to China. President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump administration eyes proposal to block jet engine sales to China: report Trump takes track to open Daytona 500 Brazile ‘extremely dismayed’ by Bloomberg record MORE’s cabinet will also discuss the matter at a Feb. 28 meeting, sources told Reuters. 

Officials will also debate the sales of flight control systems at these meetings. Honeywell International has received licenses to sell in the country for about a decade, including one earlier this year, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters. 

Some in the administration are worried that China would reverse engineer the U.S. technology, but others say the country has not done so with the LEAP engines it already has. 

One person familiar with the matter told the news outlet that China could retaliate by buying more planes from Airbus SE instead of Boeing, which receives 25 percent of its profit from China.  

The White House, Department of Commerce and GE did not immediately return requests for comment. The Hill also reached out to the Defense, State, Energy and Treasury departments. 

The dispute comes amid the trade and technology war between the two countries. The Wall Street Journal also reported the potential halt in sales on Saturday.

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