Another attempt to repeal the Jones Act

Mar 15 2019

US Senator Mike Lee (Republican-Utah) has introduced the ‘Open America’s Water Act of 2019’, a bill which would repeal the Jones Act if passed.

In essence, it would allow all qualified vessels to engage in domestic trade between US ports.


“Restricting trade between US ports is a huge loss for American consumers and producers. It is long past time to repeal the Jones Act entirely so that Alaskans, Hawaiians, and Puerto Ricans aren’t forced to pay higher prices for imported goods—and so they rapidly receive the help they need in the wake of natural disasters,” he said.


In 1920, Congress passed the Merchant Marine Act (more widely known as the Jones Act), which requires all goods transported by water between US ports to be carried on a vessel constructed in the US, registered in the US, owned by US citizens, and crewed primarily by US citizens.


US-based Cato Institute estimates that after accounting for the inflated costs of transportation and infrastructure, the forgone wages and output, the lost domestic and foreign business revenue, and the monetised environmental toll, the annual cost of the Jones Act is in the tens of billions of dollars. And that figure doesn’t even include the annual administration and oversight costs of the law.


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