In the aftermath of the devastating Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico, a ship containing 300,000 barrels of desperately-needed diesel fuel is waiting offshore until it can secure an exemption to the 1920 Jones Act, mandating only US ships can ship goods between US ports, among other protectionist restrictions.
Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierlusi has called on the federal government to grant the waiver immediately.
The Consumer Choice Center calls the Biden Administration’s indecision a “crippling example of the harms of restricting trade and commerce for nationalistic and political gain, and why the Jones Act must be immediately waived and then repealed.”
“President Biden’s Administration can immediately waive the Jones Act to speed rescue and recovery operations in Puerto Rico and along America’s coasts. The fact that desperate people, in the wake of hurricanes and natural disasters, must continuously ask the federal government to temporarily waive this law demonstrates it is no longer fit for purpose and should be repealed altogether,” said Yaël Ossowski, deputy director of the Consumer Choice Center, a global consumer advocacy group.
“For too long, the Jones Act has acted as a protectionist racket, benefiting shipbuilding union leaders at the expense of American consumers and entrepreneurs. The OECD estimates that a repeal of the Jones Act would benefit the American economy by up to $64 billion, lowering prices for consumers and offering new opportunities for investment and innovation.
“The fact that we are in a time of economic uncertainty, high gas prices, and rising inflation, and the Biden Administration and its agencies are more focused on protecting their labor union constituents, rather than citizens in need, is a crippling example of the harms of restricting trade and commerce for nationalistic and political gain, and why the Jones Act must be immediately waived and then repealed,” said Ossowski.
“The Consumer Choice Center supports the efforts of Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) to do just that with the Open America’s Water Act. Congress can do its part to support these bills and give people relief today and going forward. “Consumers and citizens deserve better,” added Ossowski.
On our syndicated radio program Consumer Choice Radio, we interviewed Colin Grabow, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute’s Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies, on how the Jones Act is making people poorer. WATCH HERE.