Brownback Wants Bizjet Trade Review

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Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback is calling for an International Trade Commission study on the global competitiveness of the business aviation industry after suggesting Embraer's success in the sector is at least partly the result of help from the Brazilian government. Brownback, who's running for governor of Kansas, issued a statement last week saying the ITC should not only examine Embraer, but should look at the business aircraft industries in Canada, Europe and China to ensure U.S. manufacturers, most of whom are headquartered in his home state, are getting a fair shake on the world market. "For years, Kansas has been leading the way in the general aviation industry, and I know that if everyone plays by the rules, Kansans will easily rise above the competition," he said. It was a report by the ITC in 2004 that triggered the drawn-out battle at the World Trade Organization over alleged subsidies by the European Union to Airbus for the development and manufacture of airliners.

Although he mentions other countries, Brownback seems to be focusing his attention on Brazil and Embraer, which certified its first business jet, the Legacy 600, essentially a conversion of its regional jet. "Embraer is now responsible for about 14 percent of all global sales of business aircraft," Brownback said. "This is an almost unbelievable feat for a company that has been manufacturing business aviation aircraft for a little over seven years." In the past five years, Embraer has introduced or announced at least five business aircraft and has been aggressively marketing them through the economic downturn. "Embraer's activity does not seem possible without heavy and creative government support across the board," Brownback said.