By Melissa Fares
| PALM BEACH, Fla.
PALM BEACH, Fla. U.S. President-elect Donald Trump met on Wednesday with the chief executives of two major defence companies he has singled out for criticism over project costs, part of his push to save taxpayer money on high-profile contracts.The Republican met with Dennis Muilenburg of Boeing Co (BA.N) and Marillyn Hewson from Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort, where he is spending Christmas.Since winning the Nov. 8 election, Trump has complained about the companies for costs he said are too expensive, sending defence shares tumbling.Trump has vowed to address government procurement costs as part of his industrial policy, which also includes taking a hard line on Chinese trade practices and renegotiating multilateral trade deals.On Wednesday, he also named economist Peter Navarro, a China hawk, to head up his White House team on industrial policy.
Muilenburg, whose company was caught off guard by Trump's broadside earlier this month on Boeing's costs for replacing for aging Air Force One planes, called his meeting "productive" and spoke admiringly of Trump's "business head-set."Trump has said Boeing's costs to build replacements for aging Air Force One planes - one of the most visible symbols of the U.S. presidency - are too high and urged the federal government to "Cancel order!"Trump has said the planes, which are in the early stages of development and are not expected to be ready until 2024, would cost more than $4 billion. The company is currently under contract for $170 million to help develop plans for the planes.
Muilenburg said he gave Trump a "personal commitment" that costs would not run out of control.“We’re going to get it done for less than that, and we’re committed to working together to make sure that happens," Muilenburg said.Trump, who takes office on Jan. 20, has publicly pushed other corporations to change their tack.
He has taken credit for forcing United Technologies Corp (UTX.N) and Ford Motor Co (F.N) to change plans to outsource jobs abroad. Hewson went into Mar-a-Lago after Muilenburg. Trump has said Lockheed Martin's F-35 fighter jet program was "out of control."The costs of the F-35s, used by the U.S. Marine Corps and Air Force, and by six countries, have escalated to an estimated $400 billion, prompting it to be described as the most expensive weapon system in history. (Reporting by Melissa Fares; Writing by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Alistair Bell)
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Updated Date: Dec 22, 2016 03:46:56 IST