November 2, 2017 / 9:09 AM / a year ago

China eyes more U.S. access for its aircraft, parts with new deal

SHANGHAI/WASHINGTON, Nov 2 (Reuters) - China’s aviation safety regulator said on Thursday that a recently signed agreement between the Asian nation and the United States to streamline aircraft certification would boost U.S. market access for Chinese-made planes and aircraft parts.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said in an e-mail to Reuters that an agreement it announced last month with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) would widen “mutual recognition” of each country’s aviation products.

It comes as Chinese planemaker Commercial Aircraft Corp of China Ltd (COMAC) seeks overseas certification for its homebuilt jets, the C919 and ARJ-21, in order to sell more planes abroad. Europe’s aviation safety regulator said in April that it was in the process of certifying the C919.

The CAAC said the new agreement replaces a 1995 deal in which China had agreed to accept all U.S. aviation products but the United States had only agreed to accept 23 small Chinese aircraft models and some plane parts. The latest agreement fulfils a commitment both countries made in 2005 and follows several years of talks, according to both regulators.

“The newly signed Implementation Procedures for Airworthiness realizes the full reciprocal recognition of aviation products between China and the U.S. The scope of the agreement covers all types of aviation products and is meant to be comprehensive,” it said.

The FAA said in a statement last Friday that the agreement, which took effect on Oct. 17, allows “each authority to leverage approvals completed by the other with respect to design, production, and airworthiness”.

The CAAC said that the agreement did not mean automatic recognition of each other’s certification procedures, saying that it would depend on the product and that some accreditation reviews were still needed.

It added that it actively encouraged and supported Chinese enterprises to apply for FAA accreditation, including COMAC for its C919 and ARJ-21. The narrowbody C919, which will compete with Boeing Co’s 737, is a symbol of China’s efforts to become a key player in the global civil aerospace market.

A source close to COMAC called the agreement “a significant step”. COMAC did not respond to requests for comment. (Reporting by Brenda Goh in SHANGHAI and David Shepardson in WASHINGTON; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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