Trump’s Trade Enforcement Helps Keep America Safe

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President Donald Trump and his administration just took important action to keep America safe and to keep our trade fair by striking an important agreement with the United Arab Emirates to end its aviation trade cheating and freeze its plans for future incoming indirect routes (known as 5th Freedom flights) to the United States.

As a former Navy SEAL and CIA paramilitary operations officer, I know firsthand how important reliable airlift is to our ability to meet global mission requirements. We cannot stand for any weakening of our readiness, especially by foreign nations who circumvent our trade laws. President Trump’s successful negotiation will ensure that the U.S. military’s ability to deploy troops, strategic assets, and supplies effectively, efficiently and without interruption around the globe will remain unimpeded. This is critical to our national security and President Trump deserves recognition for this important victory for America.

Using his skills as a negotiator and a dealmaker, the president and his team brought the UAE — a strategic military ally in the Gulf — to the negotiating table and secured a deal that protects American aviation jobs now and in the future. The UAE and its state-owned airlines, Emirates and Etihad, have been found cheating their aviation trade agreements with the United States by distorting the marketplace with subsidies and seat dumping. This is not only unfair to American workers who must compete against these subsidies; it also puts U.S. national security at risk.

President Trump said “no more,” and ensured that a framework was put in place to prevent further harm to America’s economy.

The UAE, like Qatar, which President Trump negotiated a deal with this past January, now must abide by international accounting rules. This will ensure that their marketplace distortion will end or they will face severe enforcement penalties. The deal with the UAE, in fact, is stronger than the deal with Qatar, as both parties recognize that subsidies are dishonest, specifically stating, “such government support in whatever form may adversely impact competition in providing international air transportation.” This is an improvement over the deal with the Qatar, because Qatar did not recognize the harm their subsidies cause to international competition and the United States. The UAE proved itself in this negotiation to be truly interested in correcting its mistakes by recognizing the harm it has done and agreeing to meaningful changes going forward.

Qatar, however, while agreeing to greater transparency, did not go as far as the UAE and actually accept responsibility that illegal subsidies are harmful to the United States. Further, shortly after the agreement with the Qatar was finalized, one of the subsidies of the state-owned Qatar Airways, an airline it recently purchased in Italy renamed to Air Italy (from Meridiana), announced new service to the United States. This route may be in violation of the agreement freezing any new 5th Freedom flights, and the Trump administration must look into this with great interest and ensure that if it is in violation, that the agreement is enforced and this flight is prohibited.

I have a profound appreciation for the role the U.S. civil air transport industry plays in our nation’s military preparedness, supplementing the resources of our Defense Department. When I served the Navy, our Special Operations Forces regularly deployed around the world — to dozens of countries — and we often relied on our nation’s commercial aviation industry for transportation. When the UAE and Qatar were cheating our trade agreements, they were undercutting our civil air transport partners upon whom our military relies. That put U.S. workers at a disadvantage, and put the U.S. companies and workers the military relies on at unacceptable risk. The actions taken by the Trump administration with the UAE and Qatar will help to level the playing field for U.S. workers, and safeguard the readiness of our civil air transport partners when the military needs them.

Robert Mitchell is a cybersecurity entrepreneur, former Navy SEAL and former CIA paramilitary operations officer.

Published on The Daily Caller.

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President Trump Takes Action Against UAE Open Skies Violations

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Friends,


News broke today that as a result of President Trump’s leadership on trade enforcement to safeguard U.S. jobs, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has agreed to end its market distorting airline subsidies and freeze any additional new 5th Freedom routes into the United States. This is a huge step forward in the fight for fair competition in the international aviation marketplace.

Americans for Fair Skies, and the tens of thousands of aviation workers and hundreds of thousands of Americans who have spoken up in support of our effort, sends its sincere appreciation to President Trump and his Administration for taking meaningful action to end the aviation subsidies by the UAE, and its two state-owned airlines, Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways. President Trump’s leadership and deal-making savvy has now led to successful negotiations for U.S. workers with both the UAE and State of Qatar, which was announced this past January, the two biggest trade cheaters in aviation history. President Trump’s agreements with the UAE and Qatar will ensure that U.S. aviation companies and their workers, consumers, communities, and our country will remain competitive and safe from unfair trade practices.

The recognition that subsidies in aviation are wrong and the increased transparency agreed upon by the UAE will allow the U.S. government to ensure that Emirates and Etihad (and Qatar Airways from the previously announced agreement) all operate free from state subsidization and quickly address the issue if any of the carriers continues to cheat. Like the agreement with Qatar, the UAE agreement also forces the UAE airlines to cover their own airport expenses instead of letting its government pick up the tab.

Most significantly, the Trump Administration successfully received assurances from the UAE and Qatari governments that their will not operate any new 5th Freedom flights into the United States. This is huge, especially for the UAE, as Emirates had been planning a massive, job-killing expansion into the United States, which is now frozen.

The Gulf carriers, Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Etihad Airways, have received over $50 billion dollars in illegal subsidies from the governments of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. These illegal subsidies have cost over 1,500 American jobs for each discontinued or forgone international flight, hurting U.S. companies and their workers. The subsidies have hurt America’s consumers and connectivity by reducing the number of flight options and destinations, impacting over 8,000 consumers each day. This will now halt, as President Trump has put American workers first, and put a framework in place to end the subsidies from the UAE and Qatar.

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Retired Military Leaders Write to President Trump on Keeping America Safe, Trade Fair

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Former military leaders have written to President Trump expressing their concern over the threat Gulf aviation trade cheating poses to our national defense. They are asking the president to complete the mission he started when he took on Qatari trade cheating by taking similar action to combat the illegal aviation trade practices of the UAE. Read their letter here:

Dear President Trump, 

With increasing global instability, our nation’s ability to respond and adapt to evolving scenarios is more critical than ever. The ability to effectively and efficiently meet our regional Combatant Commander’s requirements to deploy troops and supplies without interruption is fundamental component of our nation’s national security, military readiness, and ability to project both humanitarian assistance and power.

A unique and significant part of our nation’s air mobility resources, especially when rapidly deploying troops and supplies, is the Department of Defense’s partnership with U.S. commercial airlines through the Civil Reserve Air Fleet program, better known as CRAF.

U.S. civil air carriers contract with the CRAF program to provide select aircraft for the deployment of personnel and resources when emergency airlift requirements exceed the capability of military aircraft. These carriers volunteer their aircraft to the CRAF program, which today is comprised of more than 450 aircraft that are ready for deployment less than 48 hours after they are called into service. Participating U.S. commercial airlines maintain a minimum commitment of 30 percent of their CRAF capable passenger fleet and 15 percent of their CRAF capable cargo fleet in support of CRAF related activity. These planes are maintained by the airline and flown by airline employees when called into service.

From the Berlin Airlift to Operation Desert Shield and Operation Iraqi Freedom, U.S. commercial airlines have deployed their airplanes and resources on CRAF missions for decades. The CRAF program represents a remarkable public-private partnership that has helped to advance American values, protect American national security interests, and support American aid and military efforts across the globe.

However, this crucial partnership is threatened by subsidies undermining U.S. aviation transport trade agreements with the United Arab Emirates and State of Qatar. These subsidies are not only an exploitation of American trade policy that threatens an industry vital to the American economy, but present a threat to U.S. national security and military readiness.

These subsidies are being used to finance rapid global expansion by the state-owned airlines of Qatar and the UAE with the aim of driving competitors, including U.S. airlines, out of international markets and off global long-haul routes. It is these routes requiring long haul aircraft that allow for the support of our military readiness through the CRAF program. We cannot allow unfair trade practices by foreign governments to weaken our military readiness.

We must keep America safe and our trade fair.

The negative impact of these foreign carrier subsidies and their impact on our national security is compounded with the reality that approximately 1,500 aviation jobs are lost for every route ceded or surrendered due to this subsidized competition. These lost jobs represent not only the aircrew that fly these aircraft in times of crisis with CRAF, but also the maintenance workers and technicians, and the ramp supervisors and dispatchers who ensure safe global operations.

Sir, you have stated that free and fair reciprocal trade is priority for your Administration, as is ensuring our national security and military readiness. Our Department of State’s recent announcement that the State of Qatar has agreed to match American levels of financial transparency demonstrates your personal commitment to these priorities. You brought Qatar to the table and reached a deal that, if adhered to, would put an end to Qatar’s trade cheating and level the playing field for American air carriers and their workers. This would ensure the American companies can compete in the international marketplace fairly, and therefore protects the integrity of the CRAF program. By enforcing our trade agreements, you are working to reestablish America’s economic power and to improve our military readiness.

The agreement with Qatar is an important first step in the right direction, but the full implications of this development will be more fully realized once the U.S. takes action in regard to the stateowned and state-subsidized airlines of the United Arab Emirates, which continue to be less transparent and exhibit the same unfair trade practices. We must complete the mission. The UAE has two massive state-subsidized airlines that, like Qatar Airways, undercut U.S. airlines in the international marketplace and threaten our military readiness. Mr. President, by leveraging the initial success with Qatar to bring about a negotiated deal during the ongoing talks with UAE, you can ensure that we continue to keep America safe and to keep our trade fair.

Respectfully,

VADM John G. Cotton, USN (Ret)
Captain Charles T. Nash, USN (Ret)
RADM John C. Sadler, USN (Ret)
RADM Bryan P. Cutchen, USN (Ret)
RADM John A. “AJ” Jackson, USN (Ret)
ADM Mark P. Fitzgerald, USN (Ret)
VADM Robin R. Braun, USN (Ret)
RDML Michael R. Groothousen, USN (Ret)
RADM Jon W. Bayless, Jr, USN (Ret)
Maj Gen Hugh H. Forsythe, USAF (Ret)
RADM Michael R. Scott, USN (Ret)
RADM Stephen S. Oswald, USN (Ret)
Captain Richard G. Dodson, USN (Ret)
Senior Chief Special Operator SEAL, Thomas Shea USN (Ret)
Robert Mitchell, Former US Navy SEAL/CIA Paramiltary Operations Officer

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Enforcing Trade Agreements to Keep America Safe

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By Robert Mitchell

The United States military is the most powerful fighting force the world has ever seen. During my decades of service as a Navy SEAL and later as a CIA Paramilitary Operations Officer, the strength, intelligence, and determination of our service members was always on display. Whether on the front lines or stationed at a base overseas, our men and women in uniform routinely made tremendous sacrifices to protect and defend both our homeland and our allies.

Even institutions as vast and powerful as the U.S. armed forces do not operate in a vacuum. Our military often relies on the resources of private industry for vital support in contingency operations, and the U.S. civil aviation industry is a crucial partner in that respect.  American air carriers voluntarily make available hundreds of additional aircraft in the event that additional airlift capacity is necessary to move our troops around the globe.  This capability is a cornerstone of our military readiness when undertaking both warfighting and peacekeeping missions

However, American air carriers have been undermined for years by illegal and anti-competitive trade practices by the State of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.  Their systematic efforts to circumvent and defy existing fair trade practices threaten the crucial role that a healthy aviation industry plays in our national security.

Any interference with military readiness puts the lives of American service members at risk, and we must demand that foreign powers are not allowed to do so with impunity.

After years of inaction from the Obama administration, President Trump finally initiated a mission to stand up both for our troops and for American aviation workers by holding Qatar and the UAE accountable for their behavior. After forcing Qatar to come to the table, he successfully negotiated an agreement that will provide greater transparency to Qatar Airways’ business transactions and stop them from establishing any potential “fifth-freedom” routes. This agreement goes a long way to protect American workers and stop foreign interference in our military readiness.  I thank the President for his effort and his success.

President Trump’s leadership on this crucial issue has been in keeping with his commitment to promote fair trade and strengthen national security, but more work remains to be done.  I have a request for the President: complete the mission.

The United Arab Emirates continues to inject massive subsidies into its two international airlines, Emirates and Etihad Airways. In fact, Emirates recently used that subsidy to purchase 16 billion dollars’ worth of Airbus A380s.  They will use these aircraft to continue artificially expanding capacity and distorting aviation markets around the world. By flying these massive planes on routes that do not necessitate the additional capacity and pricing the seats at unprofitably low rates, carriers that play by the rules, like U.S. airlines, will be forced to abandon once-profitable routes. This flagrant abuse of our trade agreements costs American jobs, and if they are allowed to continue these illegal and anti-competitive trade practices, U.S. military preparedness will continue to be threatened.

This is not acceptable. Although both the United Arab Emirates and Qatar are vital allies in the Middle East, allies can have disagreements. When conflicts arise between friends, it is crucial to resolving them quickly and equitably in the interest of stability. Right now, the UAE and Qatar are embroiled in a diplomatic dispute, and the UAE is unlikely to follow Qatar’s lead and negotiate in good faith with the United States of their own accord. Therefore, action must be taken soon to bring them to the table. Thankfully, President Trump has already shown that he is the man for the job.

President Trump, your action against Qatar was an important first step in keeping America safe and our trade fair. But until the UAE comes to the table and takes significant steps to end the harm they have caused to the American aviation industry and its workers, and to U.S. military readiness, the mission is not yet complete.

Robert Mitchell is a cybersecurity entrepreneur, former Navy SEAL and CIA Paramilitary Operations Officer. 

Published on RealClearDefense.Com

americans4fairskies2015Enforcing Trade Agreements to Keep America Safe
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Enforcing Open Skies Helps Protect America’s National Security

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By: John G. Cotton, Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy, Retired

With increasing global instability, our nation’s ability to respond and adapt to evolving scenarios is more critical than ever.

The ability to effectively and efficiently meet our regional combatant commander’s requirements to deploy troops and supplies without interruption is a fundamental component of our nation’s national security, military readiness, and ability to project both humanitarian assistance and power.

A unique and significant part of our nation’s air mobility resources, especially when rapidly deploying troops and supplies, is the Department of Defense’s partnership with U.S. commercial airlines through the Civil Reserve Air Fleet program (CRAF).

U.S. civil air carriers contract with the CRAF program to provide select aircraft for the deployment of personnel and resources when emergency airlift requirements exceed the capability of military aircraft.

These carriers volunteer their aircraft to the CRAF program, which today comprises more than 450 aircraft that are ready for deployment less than 48 hours after they are called into service.

Participating U.S. commercial airlines maintain a minimum commitment of 30 percent of their CRAF-capable passenger fleet and 15 percent of their CRAF-capable cargo fleet in support of CRAF-related activity.  These planes are maintained by the airline and flown by airline employees when called into service.

As a naval aviator and commercial airline pilot, I have developed a profound appreciation for the important role that the U.S. civil air transport industry plays in our nation’s military preparedness.

From the Berlin Airlift to Operation Desert Shield and Operation Iraqi Freedom, U.S. commercial airlines have deployed their airplanes and resources on CRAF missions for decades.

The CRAF program represents a remarkable public-private partnership that has helped to advance American values, protect American national security interests, and support American aid and military efforts across the globe.

However, this crucial partnership is threatened by subsidies undermining U.S. aviation transport trade agreements with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and State of Qatar. These subsidies are not only an exploitation of American trade policy that threatens an industry vital to the American economy, but they present a threat to U.S. national security and military readiness as well.

These subsidies are being used to finance rapid global expansion by the state-owned airlines of Qatar and the UAE with the aim of driving competitors, including U.S. airlines, out of international markets and off global long-haul routes.

It is these routes requiring long haul aircraft that allow for the support of our military readiness through the CRAF program. We cannot allow unfair trade practices by foreign governments to weaken our military readiness.

The negative impact of these foreign carrier subsidies and their impact on our national security is compounded with the reality that approximately 1,500 aviation jobs are lost for every route ceded or surrendered due to this subsidized competition.

These lost jobs represent not only the aircrew that fly these aircraft in times of crisis with CRAF, but also the maintenance workers and technicians, plus the ramp supervisors and dispatchers who ensure safe global operations.

President Donald Trump has clearly stated that free and fair reciprocal trade is an administration priority, as is ensuring our national security and military readiness. Our Department of State’s recent announcement that the State of Qatar has agreed to match American levels of financial transparency demonstrates the Trump Administration’s commitment to these priorities.

By enforcing our trade agreements, Trump is working to re-establish America’s economic power and improve our military readiness.

The president and his team brought Qatar to the table and reached a deal that, if adhered to, would put an end to Qatar’s trade cheating and level the playing field for American air carriers and their workers.

This would ensure the American companies can fairly compete in the international marketplace, and therefore protects the integrity of the CRAF program. By enforcing our trade agreements, Trump is working to re-establish America’s economic power and improve our military readiness.

The agreement with Qatar is an important first step in the right direction, but the full implications of this development will be more fully realized once the U.S. takes action in regard to the state-owned and state-subsidized airlines of the UAE, which continues to be less transparent and exhibit the same unfair trade practices.

The UAE has two massive state-subsidized airlines that, like Qatar Airways, undercut U.S. airlines in the international marketplace and threaten our military readiness.  The recent success of negotiations with Qatar will hopefully influence ongoing discussions with UAE to ensure that Trump can keep America safe and to keep our global trade fair.

Vice Adm. John G. Cotton is a 35-year Navy veteran and last served as chief of Navy Reserve and commander of the Navy Reserve Force in the Pentagon. He is currently a defense and security consultant and a senior fellow at the Joint Forces Staff College.

Published on Lifezette.

americans4fairskies2015Enforcing Open Skies Helps Protect America’s National Security
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Jobs AND Borders: This Is How The Trump Effect Is Strengthening America

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The US military’s ability to deploy troops, strategic assets, and supplies effectively, efficiently, and without interruption around the globe is critical to our national security. Military readiness and the projection of power abroad are key pillars of our nation’s strength. As a former Navy SEAL and CIA paramilitary operations officer, I know firsthand how important reliable airlift is to our ability to meet global mission requirements. We cannot stand for any weakening of our readiness, especially by foreign nations who circumvent our trade laws.

This week, President Donald Trump again demonstrated his commitment to keeping America safe by upholding the importance of military readiness, and took action to ensure that his promise is kept to the American military and American workers. As he said in his first State of the Union address, “The era of economic surrender is totally over.”

During his recent State of the Union address, President Trump stated: “From now on, we expect trading relationships to be fair and very importantly to be reciprocal.” Trump and his administration took action to keep America safe and to keep our trade fair. Using his skills as a negotiator and a dealmaker, the president and his team brought the nation of Qatar, a strategic military ally in the Gulf, to the negotiating table and secured a deal that protects American aviation jobs now and in the future. Qatar and its state-owned airline have been accused of cheating their aviation trade agreements with the United States by distorting the marketplace with subsidies and seat dumping.

This is not only unfair to American workers who must compete against these subsidies; it also puts U.S. national security at risk. President Trump said “no more,” and ensured that a framework was put in place to prevent further harm to America’s economy. Qatar now must abide by international accounting rules, and will no longer fly indirect routes (known as 5th Freedoms flights) to the United States. This will ensure that their marketplace distortion will end or they will face penalties and is critical not only to safeguarding U.S. jobs, but also for ensuring our military is prepared to meet challenges around the globe.

When I served the Navy, our Special Operations Forces regularly deployed around the world — to dozens of countries — and we often relied on our nation’s commercial aviation industry for transportation. I therefore have a profound appreciation for the role the U.S. civil air transport industry plays in our nation’s military preparedness, supplementing the resources of our Defense Department. When Qatar was cheating our trade agreement, they were undercutting our civil air transport partners upon whom our military relies. That put U.S. workers at a disadvantage and put the U.S. companies and workers the military relies on at unacceptable risk. The actions taken by the Trump Administration this week will help to level the playing field for U.S. workers, and safeguard the readiness of our civil air transport partners when the military needs them.

As President Trump said on Tuesday evening: “America has also finally turned the page on decades of unfair trade deals that sacrificed our prosperity and shipped away our companies, our jobs and our nation’s wealth.” President Trump is a man of strong words, followed up with robust action. His work this week to keep America safe and to keep our trade fair is proof of that.

Robert Mitchell is a cybersecurity entrepreneur, former Navy SEAL and CIA Paramilitary Operations Officer. 

Originally found at: The Daily Caller
americans4fairskies2015Jobs AND Borders: This Is How The Trump Effect Is Strengthening America
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