Secretary of State Pompeo Commits to Enforcing 2018 Agreement with Qatar to End Trade Cheating and Protect American Jobs

Washington, D.C. (April 29, 2019) – Today, at an event hosted by The Hill, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reaffirmed the Trump administration’s commitment to enforcing its Open Skies agreements with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. In a discussion with The Hill Editor-in-Chief Bob Cusack, Secretary Pompeo emphasized the importance of countries honoring trade agreements with the United States and the Trump administration’s focus on protecting American jobs.

“We need to make sure these commitments continue to be honored and the Trump administration will endeavor to make sure every commitment made by every party of that agreement will continue to be honored and enforced,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “President Trump and the State Department are absolutely focused on making sure we protect American jobs wherever we can possibly can and we will continue to do so.”

“We are grateful that Secretary Pompeo reaffirmed the Trump administration’s support for U.S. airline workers and the U.S. aviation industry,” said Scott Reed, managing partner of the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies. “Under President Trump and Secretary Pompeo’s leadership, the United States is demonstrating that it will not allow trade violations like those committed by Qatar to continue. We look forward to working with the Trump administration to hold Qatar accountable and protect the more than 1.2 million American workers whose jobs rely on a strong and vibrant airline industry.”

Secretary Pompeo’s remarks come as Qatar continues to violate its Open Skies agreement with the United States, as well as a separate agreement reached with the Trump administration in January 2018. Shortly after agreeing to the 2018 deal, Qatar Airways used its subsidy-backed investment in Air Italy, which was previously a struggling and small regional carrier, as a proxy to continue its expansion into the U.S. market. Without Qatar’s subsidy-fueled backing, Air Italy’s new routes to the United States wouldn’t be feasible.

Background on Partnership for Open & Fair Skies

The Partnership for Open & Fair Skies is a coalition that includes American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, along with the Air Line Pilots Association, the Allied Pilots Association, the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, the Communications Workers of America, and the Airline Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The Partnership is calling for the United States to enforce its Open Skies agreements with the UAE and Qatar, which have pumped more than $50 billion in subsidies to their state-owned airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways. In January 2015, the Partnership published a white paper providing a comprehensive overview and analysis of this issue.