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Byrne: Trump decision not to impose tariffs on Airbus “massive win” for Alabama

A photo from inside Airbus's factory.

The Trump Administration announced Wednesday it will not impose tariffs on component parts imported to Airbus Mobile’s facilities. Congressman Bradley Byrne, R-Alabama, said that the decision was a “massive win” for Alabama workers.

“This is a massive win for the thousands of Alabama workers connected to Airbus Mobile,” Byrne said. “I thank President Trump for joining me in always fighting for America first. Today’s decision is a major win for the citizens of Alabama and our country, and I thank Senator Shelby, Governor Ivey, Mayor Stimpson and others who joined me in working with the Administration on this issue.”

Airbus assembles jetliners at the Brookley Aeroplex in Mobile. The parts however are mostly made overseas in Europeans countries, including Great Britain, Germany, and France. A tariff on those parts would substantially raise the price of producing airplanes in Mobile. Problem with Boeing’s new 737 Max planes, have only accelerated demand for the Airbus A320 and A220. All of Airbus’s global factories are running at 100 percent capacity to try to reduce the backlog of thousands of aircraft that have been ordered from the European aviation giant.

FliegetFaus, a Canadian aerospace industry publication, is reporting that Airbus is considering adding a third production line in Mobile to try to deal with the enormous demand for the product. Mobile is currently producing four A320 airplanes a month. When the second line producing A220 airliners comes online that will rise to ten airplanes a month. A proposed third production line could increase that to 15 to as much as 20 aircraft a month dramatically increasing the number of aviation jobs in Mobile.

On September 16 Airbus Vice President of Communication Clay McConnell suggested that the $5 billion in proposed tariffs on Airbus made expanding in Mobile much less likely.

“Airbus has had tremendous success building planes in Mobile, which is evidenced by our decision last year to build the A220 US assembly line there as well,” McConnell wrote. “We have a backorder of over 6,200 A320/A220 Airbus aircraft and are in the process of increasing the global monthly production rate for these planes. However, I’m afraid it’s hard for us to push for a further increase in Mobile investment and jobs while there is so much trade uncertainty, including the potential for the US Administration to impose tariffs on Airbus aircraft and components.”

Wednesday’s decision by the Trump Administration not to impose tariffs on aviation parts destined for Mobile increases the likelihood that Airbus will add that proposed third production line at Brookley.
Congressman Bradley Byrne is a candidate for the Republican nomination for the Senate seat currently held by Doug Jones (D).

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The major party primaries will be on March 3.

(Original reporting by the Alabama Media Group and Bamapolitics’ David Preston contributed to this report.)

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.



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