March 11, 2012 / 9:08 PM / 7 years ago

French aerospace firms want help on China: report

Thomas Enders, Chief Executive Officer, Airbus, of France, attends a session at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, January 25, 2012. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann (SWITZERLAND - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)

PARIS (Reuters) - European plane-maker Airbus EAD.PA has teamed up with French flag-carrier Air France (AIRF.PA) and supplier Safran (SAF.PA) to call for France’s help in resolving tensions with China over the European Union’s controversial carbon emissions tax, which they say is threatening orders, French daily Les Echos said.

The heads of all three companies have written a letter to French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, copied to European Commission head Jose-Manuel Barroso, warning that a refusal to negotiate is threatening $12 billion in Chinese orders and jobs, the newspaper said in an advance preview of its Monday edition.

“The (EU) measure is threatening more than a thousand jobs (at Airbus) and another thousand throughout the supply chain,” Les Echos quoted Airbus CEO Thomas Enders as saying.

Airbus parent European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS) publicly took on the EU’s controversial emissions rules earlier this month, exposing growing fears that China could make good on a threat to retaliate by cancelling plane orders.

Hong Kong Airlines was reported last week to be ready to scrap a $4 billion order for 10 A380s over the row over European plans to charge airlines for their emissions.

Although Air France is not in the business of selling planes, it has in the past expressed concern that the dispute over the carbon tax could harm French competitiveness.

Reporting by Lionel Laurent; Editing by Christian Plumb

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