Seven U.S. Senators Call on the Administration to Enforce Open Skies Agreements and Stop Gulf Carrier Trade Cheating

285 Current Members of Congress Have Sent Letters of Support, Including 25 U.S. Senators

WASHINGTON, DC (August 1, 2017) – In letters released today, seven U.S. Senators from both sides of the aisle asked the Trump administration to stand up for American workers by enforcing trade agreements currently being violated by the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Two letters, one from Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and another from Senators John Hoeven (R-ND), Al Franken (D-MN), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), note that the U.S. aviation industry is at risk from the market distorting behavior of Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, which have received over $50 billion in subsidies from their government owners. These subsidies violate the UAE and Qatar’s bilateral Open Skies agreements with the United States and put over 1.2 million American jobs at risk.

“Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are in agreement: The United States must stand up for its workers and stop trade cheating that gives our workers a raw deal,” said Jill Zuckman, chief spokesperson for the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies. “The Gulf carriers’ massive subsidies put the livelihoods of too many hard-working Americans in danger. We are grateful that our elected officials have heard the concerns of their constituents and are demanding the government enforce its international agreements to stop this market-distorting behavior.”

In their letter, the group of six senators – three Republicans and three Democrats – explain that the Gulf carrier subsidies “are stifling competition and driving out American carriers from international markets.” Thanks to the subsidies, these airlines can launch routes that do not make economic sense, forcing out their fair-playing, profit-minded competitors. When a U.S. carrier is forced to cancel a daily international route, over 1,500 American jobs are lost. Senator Portman, a former U.S. Trade Representative, writes that the aviation jobs threatened by the Gulf carriers are vital to our country’s economic well-being, and that United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines employ almost 28,000 Ohioans alone.

To date, 285 current members of Congress have called for the U.S. government to put a stop to these trade violations that are hurting American workers and communities across the country. Earlier this year, a separate group of six senators and Senator Ted Cruz sent a letter urging action against the Gulf carrier subsidies, along with the delegations of Utah, Illinois, Michigan, Georgia and Minnesota. In addition, 25 Members of Congress from New York and New Jersey and leading local and statewide officials from Utah and Georgia, including the governors, sent similar letters to Trump administration officials.

The bipartisan letter is available here and the letters from Senator Portman can be found here and here.