Dear comrade leader touts China’s new jet orders – uh, what new jet orders?

The big news this past week was the visit to the White House of Chinese president Hu Jintao. Our dear comrade leader pulled out all the stops, treating his counterpart to a lavish state dinner (more here). At a followup press conference the regime released a “fact sheet” touting the sale of 200 aircraft from Boeing as a $19B deal with the Chicoms. You know, like this was all worked out over a plate of Hunan Beef with vegetables from the White House garden. A big win for American business. According to this story (from the Seattle Times), this was nothing more than regime spin on old news.

The deal President Hu signed does not include any new jet orders.

Delivering the formal approval during Hu’s visit is designed to make the Chinese government appear responsive to U.S. concerns about the balance of trade.

However, all of the airplanes in the sale were announced and booked by Boeing as firm orders over the past four years. Chinese airlines had already paid nonrefundable deposits and signed contracts for the jets, most of them as far back as 2007.

The White House announcement said the total value of the orders was $19 billion.

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But that’s the list price, which airline customers never pay.

Based on market data from aircraft-valuation consultancy Avitas, the actual price for those 200 planes is about $11 billion.

Hmmm. Sounds like a little embellishment from the regime – especially for a deal it had little or nothing to do with.

Boeing was left rather embarrassed Wednesday as its public-relations team faced skeptical press questioning of an announcement the company had little to do with, one that was merely political window dressing for President Hu’s state visit.

Alan Tonelson, a research analyst with a foundation attached to the U.S. Business & Industry Council, which represents small to medium-sized U.S. manufacturers critical of Chinese trade policies, called the announcement political “fakery.”

“The president should get out of the business of trumpeting phony export deals that won’t create a single new job, and get serious about combating the Chinese predatory trade policies,” said Tonelson.

An administration with laser-like focus on American business interests…

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