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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Boeing Bureau Calls On U.S. to Fend Off Airbus

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U.S. Commerce Secretary Donald Evans visited the Boeing aircraft design facility Friday, part of a tour focusing on ways to boost U.S.-Russian economic cooperation.

Evans and U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill met with President Vladimir Putin last week to discuss economic reforms and possibilities for U.S. investment. After a decade of U.S. aid packages, U.S. President George W. Bush has called for focusing on investment instead.

With 650 engineers, the company helps combat Russia's brain drain by keeping highly qualified workers at home with well-paying jobs, the company's deputy chief Sergei Kravchenko told Evans as he took him on a tour of the design offices.

Kravchenko also appealed to Evans to use U.S. influence with Russia to help Boeing in its competition with European rival Airbus Industrie for aircraft supplies to state-run airline Aeroflot.

"Without high-level political help from the U.S. government, we can't compete with [French President Jacques] Chirac and [German Chancellor Gerhard] Schr?der, who bring Airbus contracts with them when they see President Putin," Kravchenko said.

Evans also toured the U.S.-Russian Mosflowline factory, which produces pipes for Russia's heating systems.

"[By] projects like this … my optimism and hope is absolutely encouraged," Evans told company representatives. "Here I think we are establishing an atmosphere of trust [that is] the cornerstone to developing an environment for American investment and trade in Russia."

The Bush administration will send its first official trade mission to Russia in October and part of its task will be to boost cooperation with small and medium-size businesses such as Mosflowline.

Meanwhile, O'Neill traveled to Nizhny Novgorod on Friday to look into the region's economic and investment potential, meeting with representatives of local banks, the U.S.-Russian Investment Fund and regional officials.