Battle Ship

Harboring the American Dream

The not-so-bustling port of Los Angeles. Source: Bloomberg
The not-so-bustling port of Los Angeles.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    America’s domestic shipping market is shielded from foreign competition, but there is a new push to repeal the restrictions.

  • Facts


    • The Jones Act is also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920.
    • It stipulates that shipping between U.S. ports must be done with American-made vessels, owned by Americans and flying under U.S. flag.
    • U.S. Senator John McCain wants to repeal the law, arguing the restrictions cost Americans money in the long run.
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The public debate in Europe over free trade with the United States might be dominated by concerns about chlorinated chicken and litigation help for corporations, but the European shipping industry could see an American dream come true.

Long shielded by protectionist measures, the domestic shipping market in the United States could be opened up by the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP.

The current low price of oil has revived efforts to abolish the Jones Act, which helps American shipyards and shipping companies keep competitors from Europe at bay.

U.S. Senator John McCain from Arizona has just introduced a measure that would repeal the law established back in 1920.

“I have long advocated for a full repeal of the Jones Act, an antiquated law that has for too long hindered free trade, made U.S. industry less competitive and raised prices for American consumers,” said the conservative Republican politician in a statement.

The European shipping industry has long tried to gain more access to the U.S. market and is trying to seize the moment by applying pressure in the latest round of TTIP talks.

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