Benjamin Zhang writes:
For a company like Boeing, President Donald Trump’s "America First" policies, which represent a sharp departure for the US, threaten the way the corporation does business.
Take its 787 Dreamliner.
It’s a flying symbol of an interconnected world economy, one with a network of global suppliers that would be hard to unravel with government policies, and a global group of customers waiting to buy the plans.
The Dreamliner is like the United Nations of planes:
- Its wings and batteries come from Japan.
- Its wing tips come from South Korea.
- India is the source of its floor beams.
- The front fuselage is made in the USA and Japan.
- The center fuselage and horizontal stabilizers are from Italy.
- Landing gear and doors? France.
- Cargo access doors are built in Sweden.
- The wing/body fairings, which cover gaps on the body, are from Canada.
- The movable trailing edge of the wings are from Canada, except when they’re from the US or Australia.
- Thrust reversers come from Mexico.
- Its engines come from either General Electric in the US or Rolls-Royce in the UK.
After all that, the components travel around the world before arriving at one of Boeing's factories in Washington or South Carolina, where they’re assembled into finished planes. Then, they’re delivered to more than 60 airlines worldwide.
The Trump administration’s foreign policy and stances on trade and defense could have significant effects on how multinational companies do business. While a company such as Boeing supports a massive manufacturing presence in the US, it has cultivated a broad network of international partners that have invested decades and billions of dollars into relationships with Boeing. These partners have deep ties to their local governments and business communities, but the new administration’s hardline stance on globalization threatens those bonds. And for Boeing, it could give its main rival, Airbus, a serious leg up.