I'm sitting in for O&M at the Aeronautical Repair Station Association's annual symposium, being held today and tomorrow in Arlington, Va. One of the biggest news items being discussed here are potential changes to the bilateral agreement in place between the U.S. and the EU. Many trade associations, etc. are concerned about the potential impact of H.R. 915, the FAA Reauthorization Bill of 2009, could have on on EU-U.S. relations with ARSA attendees. For more on this, see Kerry Lynch's article, "The Future for Foreign Repair Stations" in the upcoming April issue of O&M.
This morning, Wilfried Schulze, head of EASA's organizations department, shared his thoughts on what changes to the U.S.-EU bilateral could mean for the repair industry. What will happen when the bilateral is in question, Schulze asked symposium goers. Severe damage to the flow of repaired parts and components to both the U.S. and the EU. Many options for changing the nature of the bilateral and its annexes are in place, but cancelling it altogether is not really an option, he said.
According to Schulze's presentation, changes to the bilateral could mean:
Increase of fees for US repair stations approved i.a.w. MIP:
- from 1,1 Mio USD (now) to est. 35 Mio. USD.
- No annexes on OPS and FCL: loss of business of at
least 72 Mio USD.
The trade balance today, he said, is US$4 billion in favor of Americans, Schulze said. If the market redirects the flow of goods from the U.S. to other regions of the world, "this figure might significantly change," he said.
"The only way to influence your [U.S.] politicians is out of your market, out of your society," Schulze said.
Earlier in the week, House T&I Chairman James L. Oberstar (D.Minn.) shared his thoughts on objections to H.R. 915 with the International Aviation Club, saying that while EASA doesn't welcome the potential new regulations, it accepts them.
"The fact is that the provision in H.R. 915 will simply ensure that foreign entities conducting repair work on U.S. aircraft adhere to U.S. safety standards and regulations," Oberstar said. "I welcome the same scrutiny by the EU of U.S. repair stations; the United States and the EU should be working together to harmonize standards and to make the system safer, rather than decreasing oversight and accountability. Alarmism about retaliation is premature and speculative at best."