Brussels, Oct 4 (AFP/APP):The EU said Friday it had opened an “in-depth investigation” into plans by US aviation giant Boeing to form joint ventures with the world’s number three planemaker, Brazil’s Embraer, citing competition concerns.
The European Commission is “concerned that the proposed transaction may remove Embraer as the third largest global competitor in the already highly concentrated commercial aircraft industry,” it said in a statement.
The move by European competition authorities risked aggravating already tense US-EU commercial ties.
Europe is preparing its response to billions of dollars’ worth of tariffs Washington is looking to slap on its goods after the WTO gave it the go-ahead to retaliate for illegal subsidies to Boeing’s rival Airbus.
US President Donald Trump has already imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, impacting Europe.
Trump is especially unhappy with the EU’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, who has flexed regulatory muscle on US tech giants and who spearheaded the probe into the proposed Boeing-Embraer partnerships.
The main tie-up in the EU’s sights is Boeing’s plan to swallow most of Embraer’s commercial business, creating a $5.3-billion (4.8-billion-euro) joint venture that would allow the US company to offer planes with capacity of up to 150 seats — a market in which Boeing currently does not compete.
The other, smaller joint venture involves the marketing of a KC-390 military aircraft Embraer makes.