EVERETT, Wash. -- Before his trip to Microsoft, Chinese President Xi Jinping toured the Boeing plant in Everett Wednesday.
He was there to look at the newest models in aviation, but also to announce a big economic deal.
During the rare visit, Boeing announced that China ordered 300 new jets.
“It will provide tremendous benefit to Renton, Everett as well as more than 2,000 suppliers in this region and around the world. President Xi. we earnestly thank you for that airplane order,” Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said.
The 300 orders are mostly for 737s. The total package is worth $38 billion, Boeing said.
“That means I am going to keep doing what I am doing and I like that,” Boeing worker David Harries said.
The agreement also comes with a Boeing promise to open a 737 "completion and delivery center" in China. Union leaders worry this means jobs in Washington will go to China. In fact, Machinists union members planned to hold demonstrations outside Boeing's Renton plant Wednesday against jobs being shipped out of state.
One unidentified Boeing worker expressed little concern, saying “I think it’s going to help build a relationship between us and China.”
“Clearly, our company’s future is linked to China's future and in fact 1 in 4 planes that we will deliver this year will go to China,” Muilenburg said.
Outside Boeing’s Everett plant, there were protesters who have followed Xi since his visit to Western Washington began Tuesday.
But inside, the focus was on the positive.
Using a translator, Xi shared his thoughts of Boeing
“During my tour today I was impressed by the vision, the ambition and the dedication to innovation of this company,” China's president said.