Congressman Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., chairman of the House of
Representatives Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee,
has asked U.S. Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew for a review of Florida's
Port Canaveral deal to have Gulftainer operate its container and
"I ask that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States
(CFIUS) review the agreement, announced June 23, 2014. It is critical
that — before this agreement proceeds — CFIUS determines whether a
terminal operation agreement with Gulftainer presents any risk or impact
to U.S. national security," wrote Hunter in a letter dated Tuesday
Under the deal, Gulftainer would operate the terminal for 35 years and invest $100 million in infrastructure, Hunter noted.
Hunter said that Gulftainer is owned by Crescent Enterprises, based
in the United Arab Emirates, and that it is his understanding that the
deal with Port Canaveral "marks the first time a Middle Eastern company
will fully operate a U.S. cargo terminal."
He continued, "Understanding that companies based in other countries
and global regions undertake port responsibilities mirroring the
agreement with Gulftainer, a review by CFIUS, as being requested, is not
for the purpose of immediately terminating the agreement, but rather
making the appropriate determinations in the interest of U.S. national
security. This should be the case for all investments in which foreign
investors acquire or gain operational control of critical U.S.
infrastructure used in international trade."
In 2006, Dubai Ports World, another company based in the UAE,
acquired P&O Terminals. Opposition in Congress to having Dubai Port
World do stevedoring work in the U.S., forced the company to sell those
assets to AIG in 2007. That business eventually became Ports America,
the largest stevedoring company in the U.S.
Hunter's father, Duncan Lee Hunter, who preceded his son in Congress, was described in a 2006 Washington Times story as a "vocal critic
" of the sale of the P&O Ports business in the U.S. to Dubai Ports World.