The American Maritime Partnership (AMP), the domestic shipping industry's primary trade organization, said Tuesday it strongly supports U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s notice published in January
that it is revoking previous “letter rulings” that it said are inconsistent with the proper enforcement of coastwise laws, including the “Jones Act.”
The Jones Act requires ships moving cargo between points in the U.S. be built in the U.S., owned by a U.S. citizen and crewed by U.S. mariners.
“Correct enforcement of U.S. coastwise laws is vitally important to national security interests and the maintenance of our domestic maritime industry, which sustains nearly 500,000 American jobs and $100 billion in annual economic output,” AMP Chairman Tom Allegretti said. Allegretti is also the president and chief executive officer of American Waterways Operators, the principal trade organization of the tug and barge industry.
“The U.S. Customs order repealing erroneous coastwise rulings is a wise action that properly enforces U.S. law, promotes the future strength of the domestic fleet and maritime infrastructure, and puts American mariners first," Allegretti said. "His action will preserve the intent of the Jones Act, a cornerstone of U.S. maritime policy upon which national and economic security depend,” he said.
CBP had asked for comments on its notice and extended the comment period, which ended yesterday.
The oil and gas industry has opposed the revocations
, and the American Petroleum Institute said a study it commissioned from consulting firm Calash found the revocations could cost 125,000 jobs by 2030 and decrease oil and natural gas production by 23 percent between 2017-2030.
However, AMP questioned the accuracy of the Calash report. AMP said the report “assumes a far greater scope of affected vessels, which in turn, demonstrably overstates the purported economic impact on the industry.”
CBP said it has received 973 comments, many of which are identical letters
, asking it to reject the proposed modifications, saying the revocations would hurt the oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico.
CBP said it has 30 days after a comment period closes to issue a decision on such a notice. It is not clear how quickly the revocations might go into effect after it issues a decision.
Offshore Marine Services Association President and CEO Aaron Smith said, “The offshore service industry stands behind President Trump’s commitment to ‘Buy American, Hire American’ principles. The Jones Act is the quintessential 'Buy American, Hire American' law, one that puts American workers first and protects our national security.
“As CBP moves to make a final ruling impacting U.S. workers, we continue to encourage all federal agencies to not let foreign interests supersede American national, economic and homeland security,” he said.