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Aviation Daily featured comments by Jim Burnley on May 23, 2018, on the possibility of a U.S.-China open skies agreement. His remarks were part of a discussion hosted by the Hudson Institute think tank on the open skies diplomatic understanding announced last week between the United States and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The conclusion of the UAE agreement led to speculation during the Hudson discussion over whether there would ever be a U.S.-China open skies agreement, under which the airlines of each country would be allowed to fly to the other without restrictions, providing there are available airport slots.

As reported in the article, Mr. Burnley expressed his view that any potential agreement would have to occur within the larger framework of a comprehensive U.S.-China trade deal. While he said he would love to see a discussion on open skies with China, he added, "I don't think that day is near us … when all is said and done. I think any open skies agreement will play out as part of a much larger discussion about the U.S.-China relationship across all sectors, as opposed to U.S. and Chinese aviation negotiators sitting down and hammering it out. If the overall relationship evolves in a positive way, I think that enhances the chances that someday we may be able to do an open skies agreement."