US Signs Agreement with UAE on Preclearance;House Committees Raises Questions

 As expected, on April 16 the US and United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed an agreement on establishing preclearance at Abu Dhabi International Airport on a reimbursable basis during the visit by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan to Washington, DC.

There is strong opposition by aviation, labor and consumer groups (including ACI-NA) to establishing preclearance in Abu Dhabi and the related reimbursable agreement.

Today, the House sent a bipartisan letter to Secretary Napolitano asking her to respond to a series of questions regarding preclearance in Abu Dhabi and the related reimbursable agreement by April 25. One of the questions focusses on how CBP can enter a reimbursable agreement when The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013 specifically prohibited CBP from receiving reimbursement from third parties to provide services outside of the US and whether the reimbursement would cover 100% or 85% of the costs.

The House letter was signed by the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Committee on Homeland Security and Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure as well as the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Subcommittees on Border and Maritime Security, Transportation Security, Counterterrorism and Intelligence, Oversight and Management Efficiency, and Aviation.  The letter can be found at http://chsdemocrats.house.gov/press/index.asp?ID=794

Of course, the Association of European Airlines expressed concern about the competitive implications of preclearance in Abu Dhabi when its members’ passengers often face long wait times at US airports. Following is a link to the AEA press release http://files.aea.be/News/PR/Pr13-011.pdf