US Congress against inclusion of airlines in US-EU trade talks

Washington DC
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US Congress members have voiced concern over the possible inclusion of air transportation in ongoing trade talks between the USA and EU, which could allow EU airlines to operate domestically in the USA.

In a letter today to US Trade Representative Michael Froman, 158 members of the US Congress urged him to "inform the EU that issues covered by air services agreements will not be a part of the negotiations".

The first round of talks between US and EU trade officials on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership are taking place in Washington DC this week. The talks aim to remove trade barriers between the two so as to make investment easier.

The EU has expressed desire for its airlines to be allowed to fly between US cities, a prospect that US airline trade organisations have spoken out against. It also hopes that the US would allow foreigners to own more than a 25% share in US airlines.

In the letter to Froman, members of Congress said that any request from the EU to add air traffic rights to the trade talks is an attempt by the bloc to "circumvent the established process for negotiating an air services agreement because they are not satisfied with the current US-EU air transport agreement".