All eight members of Minnesota’s delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives released a letter today 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.
Delta’s Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer Peter Carter thanked the Minnesota leaders for their support of U.S. aviation jobs.
“Delta applauds Minnesota’s leaders in Congress who are taking a stand against unfair practices by the Gulf carriers that threaten 1.2 million American jobs, including tens of thousands of hard working Minnesotans,” Carter said. “President Trump has called for enforcing our international trade agreements to protect American jobs. And that's exactly what we need to do before this trade cheating harms important jobs in Minnesota."
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.