Legislation to repeal the law which constrains US domestic waterborne trade to US-built and owned vessels has been introduced to the Senate.
Senator and ex-Presidential candidate John McCain has introduced the Open America’s Waters Act of 2017, which would repeal the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, known as the Jones Act.
McCain said: “I have long advocated the repeal of the Jones Act, an archaic and burdensome law that hinders free trade, stifles the economy, and ultimately harms consumers.
“My legislation would eliminate this regulation, freeing American shippers from the requirement that they act against their own business interests.
“By allowing US shippers to purchase affordable foreign-made carriers, this legislation would reduce shipping costs, make American farmers and businesses more competitive in the global marketplace, and bring down the cost of goods and services for American consumers.
“The protectionist mentality embodied by the Jones Act directly contradicts the lessons we have learned about the benefits of a free and open market. Free trade expands economic growth, creates jobs, and lowers costs for consumers.
“I urge my colleagues to support this bill and finally repeal the outdated and protectionist Jones Act.”
This is the fourth time McCain has introduced legislation attempting to reform or repeal the act. The most recent occasion was in January 2016, when he introduced an amendment that would waive Jones Act requirements for oil and gasoline tankers.