US representatives will engage in discussions with their Emirati counterparts today aimed at securing greater financial transparency from Etihad Airways and Emirates.
The talks follow an agreement reached between the US and Qatar last week, which will see Qatar Airways release a financial statement within 12 months and be more transparent in its transactions with other Qatari entities. The deal aims to address allegations by US-based airlines that Gulf carriers have benefitted from some $50 billion in subsidies—allowing them to offer cheaper fares.
With Qatar currently engaged in an eight-month long standoff with the UAE and other Gulf countries, there are diplomatic undertones to the discussions. The US has remained largely neutral in the diplomatic crisis, but Rex Tillerson declared Qatar a “strong partner and lifetime friend” and spoke of deepening strategic ties in light of last week’s agreement.
The praise is a tactical diplomatic move that Tillerson hopes incentivises the UAE to reach a similar agreement. Given the UAE is far less isolated than Qatar, however, Washington could find such an outcome less forthcoming.
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Alex is a senior analyst in the Current Developments team with a primary focus on the Americas. He also serves as an editor on The Daily Brief.