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Boeing shortens list of sites to build 777X by cutting North Carolina

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[December 21, 2013]  By Colleen Jenkins

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Reuters)  North Carolina said on Friday it was no longer in the running to build Boeing Co's <BA.N> new commercial jetliner, as the Chicago-based company shortened its list of potential sites for the factory.

Boeing said it had begun notifying 22 states that offered to host the factory for the 777X jet, but it did not say which ones made the short list.

A factory to build the new version of Boeing's most popular wide-body jetliner would bring thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic benefit to the winning location.

Jake Keys, a spokesman for the city of Greensboro, said Boeing had told the city it was no longer in the running. Charlotte and Kinston also did not make the list.

Washington state, home of the current 777 factory, was still waiting to hear, said Alex Pietsch, director of the governor's office of aerospace. The state has passed an $8.7 billion tax package to help attract the work, but machinist workers did not ratify a labor contract extension that Boeing said was necessary to ensure the work went to Washington state.

Missouri, where Boeing employs about 15,000 workers, had offered the company $1.7 billion in tax incentives for the 777X project.

A spokesman for Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declined to comment on whether Missouri was still in the running.

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Boeing has already announced 800 new jobs in Missouri this year, the governor's office said. Last week, the planemaker said it would add 400 research and technology jobs at its St. Louis campus to the 400 jobs it announced last June that it was placing there.

Officials in Alabama, South Carolina, California and Georgia either declined to comment or said they had not yet heard from Boeing.

(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; additional reporting and writing by Harriet McLeod; editing by Alwyn Scott and Lisa Shumaker)

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