One hundred-plus countries engage each year in tens of trillions of dollars worth of global trade.
Far too many nations engage in all sorts of anti-free trade actions – so as to warp the markets to their advantage.
And when caught, far too many nations don’t stop their anti-free trade actions – they look for new and innovative ways to continue rigging the system.
To demonstrate an ongoing, rolling, evolutionary scam, we humbly give you – The Open Skies Agreement:
“‘The United States has 120 Open Skies agreements with countries from around the world. The agreements are meant to expand international passenger and cargo flights to and from the United States.’
“Outstanding – until someone starts cheating and lying:
“‘The Partnership for Open and Fair Skies released a report in January 2015 that alleges that the governments of Qatar and the U.A.E. have granted close to $40 billion in subsidies and “other unfair benefits” to its state-owned carriers.
“‘Since then, they say, another $10 billion has been identified as government subsidies.
“‘The Partnership asserts that the subsidies violates the Open Skies agreements and undermines the basic principles of fair and open competition behind the Open Skies policy.’
“A fifty-yard dash is not a ‘fair and open competition’ – if the other runners are putting $50 billion worth of rocks in your pockets.
“You can call this all sorts of things – but you can not call it ‘free trade.’”
Thankfully, Qatar got popped for rigging the system.
Unthankfully, Qatar didn’t start complying – they started an anti-free trade, anti-Open Skies workaround.
In the cinematic classic The Godfather – Part II, we are provided a precursor to Qatar’s latest move. Mob enforcer Willie Cicci is testifying before Congress – and he has this exchange with Senator Pat Geary:
Senator Pat Geary: I’m interested to know, was there always a buffer involved?
Willie Cicci: A what?
Senator Pat Geary: A buffer. Someone in between you and your possible superiors who passed on to you the actual order to kill someone.
Willie Cicci: Oh yeah, a buffer. (Laughter) The family had a lot of buffers.
Behold Qatar’s buffer – Air Italy:
“Exploring new frontiers in commercial aviation, let’s take a chronically money-losing European airline and put it together with a heavily subsidized Middle East airline and then dramatically boost flying to the United States, even though the Middle East airline had indicated it wouldn’t do that.
“What do you get?
“‘The Italian version of Qatar,’ is what United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz called it earlier this month, during a conference call with reporters.
“In 2017, Qatar purchased 49% of Air Italy, which very quickly thereafter adopted a Qatar strategy:
“Build a hub with rapid expansion of U.S. service, enabled by lots of new airplanes purchased with government money.”
So Qatar hasn’t stopped their anti-Open Skies mass subsidies of flights into the United States. They have purchased a foreign front – through which they run their mass subsidies of flights into the United States.
Whether the mass subsidies are in Qatari Riyal or Italian Euro – they are illegal.
I very much appreciate and admire President Trump’s taking on the mind-bogglingly monstrous task of trying to right the very many global trade wrongs the United States has for decades suffered.
One price of the mission – is eternal vigilance.
Having popped Qatar once – Trump must pop Qatar again. And not just for the sake of the Open Skies Agreement:
“Qatar must be called to account, and not just for its own mischief but for the message that would send to the Chinese and other major U.S. trading partners.
“If Qatar Airways continues to use Air Italy as its proxy, and gets by with it, that would tell China, Japan, Mexico, Canada and Europe they can agree to trade deals and if they’re caught cheating the United States will look the other way. Someone could write a book, and call it ‘The Art of the Steal.’”
Which, by the way, countries like China have already been doing.
Uber-subsidizing China spent decades running trillions of dollars worth of their uber-subsidized goods through Mexico (and Canada) into the US. To circumvent trade limits imposed upon them because of their uber-subsidies – by abusing the daylight out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) advantages Mexico and Canada enjoyed.
Which Trump for decades understood. Which is why he – when he became President – rightly killed NAFTA.
And Trump imposed steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexico and Canada – because China has been running through Mexico and Canada their ridiculously subsidized steel and aluminum. Which he will remove when NAFTA successor USMCA – which addresses the China buffer – is ratified.
Qatar’s Air Italy – is China’s Mexico and Canada.
A Godfather buffer – to yet again get around the law.
President Trump popped Qatar once.
It’s time for him to do it again.
This first appeared in Red State.