Last updated: 02:15 PM ET, Mon June 22 2015

Trade Group Backs Gulf Airlines in Open Skies War

Airlines & Airports | Rich Thomaselli | June 22, 2015

Trade Group Backs Gulf Airlines in Open Skies War

Throughout the long and contentious debate over Open Skies Agreements between the United States and the Middle East countries of Qatar and United Arab Emirates, business has come down decidedly in favor of re-opening talks.

The Partnership for Fair & Open Skies counts more than two dozen unions, businesses and trade organizations as allies to American, Delta and United airlines, which allege that Persian Gulf carriers Emirates, Etihad and Qatar have skewed the international marketplace by receiving $42 billion in subsidies from 2004-14.

Now one business organization is standing up for the Gulf airlines.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has submitted comments to the docket of the Departments of State, Commerce and Transportation as part of an ongoing review and evaluation of current Open Skies agreements. NAM said “Proposals to reopen and renegotiate the current agreements with Qatar and the UAE are unwarranted and directly contrary to the U.S. government's long accepted and bipartisan policy in support of aviation liberalization.”

The letter was written by Robyn Boerstling, NAM’s Director of Transportation, Infrastructure, Legal and Regulatory Policy.

Calling itself the nation's largest industrial trade association and the voice of 12 million men and women who make things in America, NAM said supporting open markets and ensuring manufacturers' access overseas are policy priorities.

“With 95 percent of consumers outside the United States and a global demand for manufactured goods that far exceeds domestic demand, manufacturers in the United States need to win more sales overseas to sustain and grow operations and employment,” Boerstling wrote. “To that end, Open Skies bilateral aviation agreements are one of several important tools that help ensure manufacturers' access to global markets and critical services that support manufacturers in the United States.”

Boerstling made it clear that reopening the agreements would affect more than just the aviation industry.

“ There is much at stake across the travel, hospitality, manufacturing and transportation industries that will be jeopardized by the loss of American credibility and the potential rejection of this longstanding policy,” Boerstling wrote. “The free flow of people, trade and ideas is ingrained in our origins as a nation. Our manufacturing, aviation and aerospace industries are second to none. The United States should not retreat from the global stage, nor should our government engage in reopening agreements contrary to our economic and national interests.”


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