China is looking at excluding Boeing Co.’s troubled 737 Max jet from a list of American exports it would buy as part of a trade deal with the U.S., people familiar with the matter said.
Boeing jets were featured on a draft list of American products China would buy to reduce its trade surplus with the U.S., the people said, asking not to be identified discussing private deliberations. Now, safety concerns are pushing China to examine whether to cut the 737 Max from the list altogether or replace it with other Boeing models after the crash of a plane operated by Ethiopian Airlines led to the aircraft being grounded worldwide, they said.
A reduction in aircraft purchases could make it harder for China to fulfill an offer it’s said to have made to pare its $300-billion-plus annual goods trade surplus with the U.S. over six years, and potentially delay any overall agreement between the two countries. Worth billions of dollars and a key U.S. export, planes would likely be a key component of any commitment by China to buy more American goods, along with soybeans, meat and natural gas.