California Congressional Delegation Calls on Trump Administration to End Gulf Carrier Trade Cheating

WASHINGTON, DC (December 7, 2017) – Thirty-one members of California’s delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives have sent a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao calling on the Trump administration to put a stop to the repeated trade cheating behavior by the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Since 2004, the UAE and Qatar have pumped more than $50 billion in illegal subsidies to their state-owned airlines – Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways – in violation of their governments’ Open Skies agreements with the United States. Instead of promoting fair and open travel between countries – as is the purpose of Open Skies policy – the UAE and Qatar are undermining the global aviation market and putting 1.2 million American jobs at risk that rely on a strong aviation industry.

“As one of the largest economies in the world, California is a critical part of the United States’ aviation industry. California’s commercial aviation produces $36 billion in economic activity, and the state is home to 30,000 U.S. airline jobs. But this industry is put in jeopardy by the rule-breaking Gulf carriers,” said Jill Zuckman, chief spokesperson for the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies. “We are grateful that California’s members of Congress – Republicans and Democrats alike – are standing up for these workers by asking the Trump administration to put an end to this trade cheating behavior.”

“Operating without regard for market demands, these carriers have and will continue to push U.S. airlines out of international routes,” explains the congressional letter. “The consequences of these subsidies are steep, as each long-hail route lost to a subsidized Gulf carrier costs approximately 1,500 American jobs.”

To date, over 300 current members of Congress have urged the Trump administration to protect American jobs by enforcing Open Skies agreements.

The California letter was signed by U.S. Representatives Paul Cook, Grace F. Napolitano, Jeff Denham, Julia Brownley, Doug LaMalfa, Mark DeSaulnier, John Garamendi, Brad Sherman, Pete Aguilar, Nanette Diaz Barragán, Salud O. Carbajal, Tony Cárdenas, Judy Chu, Jim Costa, Susan A. Davis, Jimmy Gomez, Ted W. Lieu, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Raul Ruiz, Linda T. Sánchez, Adam B. Schiff, Jackie Speier, Eric Swalwell, Mark Takano, Mike Thompson, Juan Vargas, Doris O. Matsui, Jared Huffman, Ami Bera, Karen Bass and Norma J. Torres.

The delegation joins other bipartisan letters from the delegations of West Virginia, Arizona, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Georgia, Minnesota, Utah, Texas, Ohio, North Carolina and Colorado calling for the United States to enforce its Open Skies agreements with the UAE and Qatar. Additional letters of support this year came from 25 Members of Congress from New York and New Jersey, leading political and business figures in Georgia and Utah, and two bipartisan groups of U.S. Senators, as well as individual letters to the Trump administration from Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Rob Portman.

The delegation letter can be found here.