Ohio Congressional Delegation Urges Trump Administration to Enforce Open Skies Agreements to Protect U.S. Workers

Unprecedented trade cheating threatens thousands of American jobs in Ohio and over 1.2 million nationwide.

WASHINGTON, DC (September 13, 2017) – A bipartisan group of 15 members of Congress from Ohio sent a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao urging action against massive trade cheating by the governments of the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. These two Gulf nations have violated their Open Skies agreements with the United States by pumping over $50 billion into their state-owned airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, skewing the global market and preventing fair competition from rule-abiding businesses. The unprecedented subsidies threaten the over 1.2 million jobs supported by U.S. commercial aviation, including the thousands of Ohioans who depend on a strong aviation industry to support their families.

“Aviation has always been a cornerstone of Ohio’s economy, and we’re grateful that the state’s congressional leaders recognize the incredible harm that rule-breaking Gulf carrier subsidies pose to American workers in this vital industry,” said Jill Zuckman, chief spokesperson for the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies. “We hope the Trump administration will stand with the hard-working Ohioans whose livelihoods are at risk from this trade cheating, and will take action to enforce our trade deals and restore fair competition.”

In their letter, the members of the Ohio delegation write: “Open Skies policy is based on ensuring fair and equal competition and markets governed by demand, not government interference. The subsidies provided by Qatar and UAE to their state-owned airlines deny U.S. airlines an equal opportunity to compete and we believe violate our Open Skies agreements.”

The letter was signed by U.S. Representatives Bob Gibbs, Marcy Kaptur, Michael Turner, Tim Ryan, Brad Wenstrup, David Joyce, Joyce Beatty, Marcia Fudge, Bill Johnson, Steve Chabot, Jim Renacci, Pat Tiberi, Bob Latta, Warren Davidson and Steve Stivers. The Ohio delegation joins other bipartisan letters from the delegations of Illinois, Michigan, Georgia, Minnesota, Utah and Texas 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 full Ohio delegation letter follows:

Dear Secretary Tillerson and Secretary Chao,

As you know, Ohio has a proud history in aviation. From the home of the Wright brothers in Dayton, to the NASA John H. Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio represents the innovation and determination that are hallmarks of the American aviation industry. Thousands of individuals are employed by U.S. airlines in Ohio, and commercial aviation generates more than $3.5 billion in economic activity.

We are concerned these jobs are at risk due to the subsidized expansion of three state-owned airlines: Qatar Airways, Emirates Airline, and Etihad Airways. The governments of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have provided these carriers with massive subsidies – more than $50 billion since 2004. These subsidies give the Gulf carriers a stark competitive advantage at the expense of the U.S. airlines’ domestic and international networks, and also American jobs. Each long-haul route lost as a result of subsidized Gulf carrier competition causes the displacement of over 1,500 American jobs.

Open Skies policy is based on ensuring fair and equal competition and markets governed by demand, not government interference. The subsidies provided by Qatar and UAE to their state-owned airlines deny U.S. airlines an equal opportunity to compete and we believe violate our Open Skies agreements.

American trade agreements must work for American workers. If left unaddressed, the subsidies could jeopardize aviation in our state, and we ask your enforcement of our Open Skies agreements to ensure the future of aviation in the United States.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

U.S. Representative Bob Gibbs
U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur
U.S. Representative Michael Turner
U.S. Representative Tim Ryan
U.S. Representative Brad Wenstrup
U.S. Representative David Joyce
U.S. Representative Joyce Beatty
U.S. Representative Marcia Fudge
U.S. Representative Bill Johnson
U.S. Representative Steve Chabot
U.S. Representative Jim Renacci
U.S. Representative Pat Tiberi
U.S. Representative Bob Latta
U.S. Representative Warren Davidson
U.S. Representative Steve Stivers