Jenny Beth’s Journal: It’s time to enforce our Open Skies agreements
President Trump announced a couple of weeks ago that he would impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports in an effort to protect American jobs. These tariffs on imports, however, would not help the overall American workforce. To protect more Americans jobs in the long run, Trump should focus his efforts on enforcing our Open Skies agreements.
These bilateral agreements keep governments from subsidizing airlines and allow for a fair and free trade in international air travel. Trump has already been successful in convincing Qatar to change course and honor our Open Skies agreements, something that former President Obama did not do. Unfortunately, government-owned airlines in the United Arab Emirates are still violating these agreements.
In the short term, this type of government-orchestrated market interference tilts the playing field in favor of the grossly subsidized airlines, making it difficult for other international airlines to fly certain routes. In the long term, however, the consequences are much more serious. U.S. airlines, unable to compete with oil-rich governments’ subsidized airlines, will be forced out of major international routes and could even be forced out of business.
The good news is that the Trump administration has been listening to Americans’ opposition to these violations of the Open Skies agreements. And, even more importantly, the Trump administration has taken swift action to enforce the Open Skies agreement.
Back in January, the Trump administration landed a big victory during the U.S.-Qatar Strategic Dialogue, when Qatar agreed to provide detailed and transparent financial records. Those financial records will enable the State Department and other U.S. agencies to evaluate possible violations of the Open Skies agreements.
Moving forward, the Trump administration should insist that the United Arab Emirates submit to the same transparency standards that Qatar recently agreed to implement. That would mean, at a minimum, the full release of its financial records, in accordance with internationally recognized accounting standards.
Violations to these agreements jeopardize American jobs and the American economy. Trump should continue his “America first” policies and enforce these agreements with nations that abuse these agreements. Sign our petition urging Trump to enforce Open Skies agreements and make America great again.