Boeing is finally going to China. The American aerospace giant will build its first overseas airliner assembly plant in China, state news agency Xinhua reported Wednesday. As part of the deal, Boeing also will sell 300 new aircraft to three Chinese companies.
Boeing has not yet issued a statement. Nor has the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the union that represents more than 33,000 workers at the company’s longtime manufacturing base in Washington’s Puget Sound region.
The move is Boeing’s latest step away from its home in the Pacific Northwest — something it has pinned, in part, on high labor costs. More than a dozen years ago, the company moved its corporate headquarters to Chicago; in 2011, it opened an assembly plant near Charleston, South Carolina, where it now builds the 787 Dreamliner jet. Since 2013, Boeing has shed 6,800 jobs from Washington, although the state still hosts about half of the corporation’s 160,000-person workforce, according to SEC filings.