Friday, February 2, 2007

Commerce Department says Airbus exaggerates support for US economy

Airbus exaggerates how much American-manufactured components are used in its aircraft and how much the company contributes to the US economy.

So says a senior Bush Administration Commerce Department official in a letter to a US Senator. Airbus appears to be exaggerating its number of American suppliers by more than 300 percent. And while Airbus claims to sustain 100,000 jobs in the US, the number could be closer to a mere 500.

Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade Grant Aldonas tells Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) that the US cannot substantiate Airbus's claims of its positive effects on the American economy. (The graphic at left is courtesy Senator Murray.)

In his March 18, 2003 letter, Aldonas addresses Airbus's claim that it has as many as 800 American suppliers. However, based on official analysis, Aldonas says, "we believe that the number of US suppliers to Airbus is approximately 250. We have asked Airbus to account for the discrepancy between our supplier figure and theirs, but have not yet received a response."

Does Airbus sustain 100,000 American jobs? The Commerce Department official says, "It is exceedingly difficult to verify Airbus Industrie's claim of 100,000 US jobs sustained by its operations in the United States. . . . According to Airbus, the total number of workers directly employed in the United States by Airbus is fewer than 500 individuals. . . . Efforts to quantify the number of US jobs sustained by Airbus through US suppliers have produced varying results. The methodology that Airbus uses is difficult for us to understand because the calculations are based on imprecise terms."

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