(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The Department of Commerce today responded to Senator Patty Murray's (D-Wash.) call for the agency to investigate Airbus' claims to be a significant contributor to the U.S. aerospace industry.
Senator Murray's February 6th letter asked the Department of Commerce to verify Airbus claims that it has created 100,000 jobs in the United States, contracts with more than 800 U.S. firms and contributes $5 billion annually to the U.S. economy.
Senator Murray's letter asserted that Airbus, rather than aiding the U.S. economy, is responsible for hurting U.S. aerospace workers and poses an ongoing threat to the U.S. aerospace industry.
"The time has come to take a closer look at Airbus' total impact on U.S. workers, rather than simply buying into the Airbus propaganda," Senator Murray said. "At a time when U.S. jobs are under attack from French competition, I will continue to stand up for America's workers."
The Commerce Department response from Under Secretary for International Trade, Grant Aldonas confirms Senator Murray's suspicions that Airbus is wildly overstating its contributions to the United States economy.
Commerce was only able to count 250 U.S. firms working with Airbus, not the 800 companied claimed by the Toulouse, France-based Airbus. Commerce could only verify 500 of the 100,000 jobs Airbus claimed to have created in the U.S.
At issue is a marketing brochure distributed throughout Washington, D.C. as well as a publicly peddled 2002 report entitled "Key Determinants of Competitiveness in the Global Large Civil Aircraft Market: An Airbus Assessment." The 2002 report boasts Airbus has created 120,000 U.S. jobs.
"Airbus' slick campaign to sell itself in the United States completely overlooks the real harm caused by Airbus to U.S. workers and companies," Senator Murray said. "Our aerospace industry is in distress due to an industry downturn, terrorism and Airbus. All three of these factors have resulted in the loss of thousands of family wage jobs. All three must be addressed for our aerospace industry to recover and grow."
Commerce notes that U.S. content of Airbus aircraft is heavily reliant on the engine selected by the aircraft customer. Commerce also notes that content is one factor of economic value along with "design, research and development, cost of assembly, and after-sales engineering and product support."