Foreign investment in Chinese civil aircraft production has a long tail. Twenty-four years ago, Messerschmitt-Boelkow-Blohm was on the hunt for European and North American partners to help fund joint development of the MPC-75 regional jet, which the German company hoped would take Europe—then in the throes of deregulating—by storm. Catic, the import/export arm of the Chinese aviation ministry, was to hold a minority stake with the idea that airplanes could be produced at low cost in ...

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