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Chinese airlines sign deal to buy 35 Embraer jets

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) April 12, 2011
Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer has sold 35 E190 planes to two Chinese airlines in a deal signed during President Dilma Rousseff's visit to China, a Brazilian minister said Tuesday.

The deal was confirmed after talks between Rousseff and Chinese President Hu Jintao, Brazil's development, industry and commerce minister Fernando Pimentel told reporters, refusing to give any figures.

Sources in the Brazilian delegation put the list price of the aircraft at $40 million, meaning the deal would be worth $1.4 billion.

Under the agreement, state-owned giant China Southern and Hebei Airlines, a regional carrier based in the north of the country, will purchase 20 and 15 E190 planes, respectively. Each aircraft can seat 98 to 114 people.

Embraer also signed an agreement with state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) to manufacture the firm's Legacy 600 business jet in the Asian nation, Brazilian officials said.

China Southern, the country's biggest carrier by fleet size, has been operating ERJ 145 Embraer jets on regional routes since 2004.

With more than 17,000 employees, Embraer is the third largest airplane manufacturer behind global giants Boeing and Airbus. Around 80 of its planes are currently in operation in China's lucrative aviation market.

Rousseff, on her first major foreign trip since taking office in January, on Tuesday suggested a new model for trade ties between the two countries based on technological cooperation and the exchange of high value-added products.

China has in recent years become Brazil's largest trading partner, overtaking the United States, and in 2010 was the largest investor in the South American nation.

Brazil, which mainly exports soybeans, iron ore and oil to China, is seeking to diversify the range of products it sells to Beijing.

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