Despite the standoff between Boeing and the Russian government over import tax relief for U.S.-made commercial jets, the Chicago-based manufacturer insists that its participation in the Sukhoi-led Russian Regional Jet has not yet run its course. A spokeswoman told AIN that Boeing remains under contract with Sukhoi until the end of this year, and that the lack of progress in talks with the government bears no relationship to the U.S. company’s commitment to serve as a “consultant” on the program.
Boeing senior vice president of international relations Thomas Pickering recently visited officials in Russia in a last-ditch effort to end the stalemate in negotiations, apparently to no avail. As a result, Boeing has threatened to stop hiring local engineers to staff its own research centers in Russia.
The Russian government imposes a 20-percent import tax on all Boeing airplanes sold or leased to operators based in the former Soviet Republic. It also charges a 20-percent value-added tax to buyers. In an effort to soften those restrictions, Boeing joined the RRJ program in August 2001. The Russian company’s general director, Mikhail Pogosyan, has said he expects the RRJ to draw some 40 percent of sales from Western airlines, a target based largely on Boeing’s participation in after-sales support and parts distribution.