(Arlington, VA) – Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) has introduced S. 694, legislation to repeal the Jones Act. The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 – commonly known as the Jones Act – was intended to promote national security by protecting the market of American shipbuilders. The law requires that commerce between U.S. ports be conducted on ships built in the United States, registered in the United States, and crewed by at least 75 percent U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Because the law so effectively eliminates competition, it dramatically increases the cost of commerce between U.S. ports. For states and territories that depend heavily on seaborne commerce – including Hawaii and Puerto Rico – the law dramatically increases the costs of doing business.
Daniel Garza, President of The LIBRE Initiative, released the following statement:
“The Jones Act was enacted nearly a century ago, and it’s time to repeal it. This law protects one American industry from competition, at the cost of significant price increases for consumers. One recent study concluded that the law imposes the equivalent of a 7.2 percent tax on food and beverages in Puerto Rico – an added cost of nearly $300 million for just those two sets of goods. Another finds that without the Jones Act, there would be an additional $1.5 billion in economic activity in Puerto Rico.
“The fact is, this century-old policy to protect American shipbuilders taxes consumers and costs billions of dollars in economic activity – it’s time to get rid of it. It’s simply not fair to impose these enormous added costs on consumers who depend primarily on shipping for the goods they buy and sell. Repealing the Jones Act would end this inequity, and we thank Senator Lee for stepping up to lead on this important issue.”
Nathan Nascimento, Executive Vice President of Freedom Partners, released the following statement:
“The Jones Act forces higher prices on working Americans and stifles further economic growth just to prop up one special interest industry. Senator Lee is right to introduce this common-sense legislation and we urge Congress to enact it to put this protectionist policy into the dustbin of history.”