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Report: #Neverneeded 1920 Jones Act Hinders Coronavirus Economic Recovery

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A 100-year-old law that imposes restrictions on commercial shipping now stands as a barrier to economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and imposes unfair costs and hardships on noncontinental American states and territories, explains a new Competitive Enterprise Institute report.

“Americans cannot afford government programs that set everyone back for the benefit of a few well-connected special interests,” said Mario Loyola, CEI senior fellow and author of the report. “The Jones Act is particularly hard to justify. Its purpose is protectionist, but it amounts to an ‘America Last’ policy that favors imports and exports over domestic American trade, by severely penalizing the latter. It is militarily obsolete and – far from protecting America’s shipbuilding industry – is only blocking its recovery.”

The Jones Act requires any ship traveling between two U.S. points to be U.S.-manufactured, -owned, -flagged, and -crewed. The law has put most of America’s maritime industry out of business, while making it pointlessly difficult for Americans to buy American.

An earlier CEI report delved into more extensive detail about the problems caused by the Jones Act. Today’s abridged report is part of CEI’s #NeverNeeded campaign to identify and eliminate harmful and unnecessary laws and regulations.