West Virginia Congressional Delegation Calls for Action Against Gulf Carrier Trade Cheating

Over 300 members of Congress have urged the administration to protect American workers by enforcing Open Skies agreements.

WASHINGTON, DC (November 28, 2017) – West Virginia’s delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives has called on the Trump administration to address the trade cheating behavior of the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, which threatens more than 1.2 million American jobs. In a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, the representatives highlighted $50 billion dollars in subsidies that these two countries have given to their government-owned airlines – Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways – violating bilateral trade agreements with the United States. These subsidies prevent rule abiding businesses from successfully competing in the global market, harming American carriers and their employees and threatening the stability of international aviation. Over 300 members of Congress from both parties have now sent letters to the administration calling for action on this issue.

“U.S. carriers and U.S. airline employees deserve to be able to compete on a fair and equal playing field, but the actions of these carriers are forcing U.S. airlines out of some markets,” explained the congressional letter. “If this continues, U.S. airlines may not be able to serve as many small and medium-sized communities, like the ones in our state.”

“The people of West Virginia can be proud that their elected officials are willing to stand up for American jobs,” said Jill Zuckman, chief spokesperson for the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies. “Commercial aviation is an economic engine for West Virginia, generating over $130 million in economic activity. If the Gulf carrier trade cheating goes unchecked, West Virginians could lose access to local air service. We look forward to working further with the Trump administration to enforce America’s trade agreements and protect our workers.”

The West Virginia letter was signed by U.S. Representatives Alex X. Mooney, David McKinley and Evan Jenkins. The delegation joins other bipartisan letters from the delegations of 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.