Today, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) held a public hearing entitled "Business Jet Aircraft Industry: Structure and Factors Affecting Competitiveness." This hearing continues the commission's important investigation examining the business jet industry in the United States, Brazil, Canada, Europe and China. It is vitally important that the General Aviation (GA) industry is not harmed by the illegal actions of foreign governments. Because the General Aviation industry employs more than 1.2 million people and contributes $150 billion annually to the U.S. economy, this makes the U.S. and Kansas GA community a target of both foreign companies and their governments.
This investigation of potentially unfair trade practices by foreign governments follows the continued assault leveled against the U.S. General Aviation industry by the Obama Administration. Over the past several months, President Obama has eliminated privacy for General Aviation users (restricting the Block Aircraft Registration Request program) and advocating increasing taxes on the purchase of a jet and introducing user fees--a $100 fee per flight for all business aviation. Each of these proposals harms business jet sales.
This investigation stems from a request put forward by Kansas Representatives Lynn Jenkins (KS-02) and Mike Pompeo (KS-04) on May 18, 2011. The report is expected to be published by April 23, 2012.
Governor Sam Brownback (R-KS) made the following remarks in recognition of the Pompeo-Jenkins effort and lauded the ITC's investigation:
"I would like to thank the ITC for moving forward on its investigation into the business jet industry and Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins and Congressman Mike Pompeo for their leadership on an issue which is so important to our state's and country's economies. It is imperative we have a clear understanding of the conditions confronting our aviation industry as it competes for business around the world and creates jobs in our states. This industry has been through a rapid descent these past several years and recently has shown signs of stabilizing, but the environment is still very turbulent. We should not allow the actions of foreign governments or the political maneuvering of the Obama Administration to ground it. The Administration's lack of knowledge of its economic value and ability to increase the global competitiveness of U.S. companies is astounding."
Rep. Mike Pompeo (KS-04) issued the following statement in support of the ITC's hearing:
"The ITC's investigation is a prime example of what steps the federal government should be taking to help American workers. Unfair trade practices harm American manufacturing, and this investigation will try to determine the negative impact they have directly on the General Aviation industry. Instead of creating more federal bureaucracy by instituting General Aviation user fees or levying more taxes on business jets, I urge the President to focus on creating American jobs by enforcing current trade agreements."
Rep. Lynn Jenkins (KS-02) released her own statement applauding the efforts of the ITC:
"I am pleased to see that the USITC has launched their investigation. The jobs created by the American aviation industry are essential to both the Kansas and the U.S. economy. Unfortunately, general aviation is already facing an assault from this Administration through efforts to impose new regulations and taxes on aircraft owners, so we must ensure that the competitive edge of our aviation industry is not being diminished by unfair trade practices."