Minnesota’s Congressional Delegation Asks Trump Administration To Support Fair Trade and Enforce Open Skies Agreements

Gulf Carriers’ Billions of Dollars in Treaty-Violating Subsidies Pose a Threat to More Than 75,000 Minnesota Jobs

WASHINGTON, DC (May 15, 2017) – Today, all eight members of Minnesota’s delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives released a letter sent to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao asking for action against egregious trade violations by Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The two countries’ have pumped over $50 billion in subsidies into their state-owned airlines – Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways – in violation of Open Skies agreements with the United States. The subsidies skew industry competition in favor of the Gulf airlines, creating an unfair playing field that puts over 1.2 million U.S. jobs at risk. As a major aviation hub, operations at Minneapolis – St. Paul International Airport alone support almost 75,000 jobs and generate $2.9 billion in revenue for the state that will be harmed by the Gulf carriers’ anticompetitive practices.

The bipartisan letter released today states, “Qatar and UAE air carriers are using their government subsidies to launch international service that would not be possible without government backing. These new routes are coming at the expense of U.S. airlines’ international networks, American jobs, and ultimately will harm consumers.” The letter was signed by Representatives Tom Emmer, Betty McCollum, Tim Walz, Jason Lewis, Erik Paulsen, Keith Ellison, Collin Peterson and Richard Nolan.

“Minnesota’s congressional delegation continues to show their leadership in the fight for fair and free trade,” said Jill Zuckman, chief spokesperson for the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies. “We are grateful that this bipartisan group is speaking out on behalf of Minnesotans and all Americans whose jobs are put at risk by the Gulf carriers’ unprecedented subsidies. It is past time to put a stop to trade cheating and enforce our Open Skies agreements.”

Six bipartisan U.S. Senators, including Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) sent a similar letter to the Trump Administration in March. Additional letters have recently been sent by Michigan’s congressional delegation and Georgia’s political and business leaders.

Full copies of the letter from Minnesota’s House Members can be found online here, and the letter signed by Senator Klobuchar can be seen here.