by Michael Hansen, Hawaii Shippers Council August 7, 2015
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published an op-ed from Daniel Ikenson, Director Trade Policy Studies, Cato Institute, advocating for the inclusion of dredging services in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) to allow European flag dredges to perform dredging services in the U.S. The TTIP is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) currently under negotiation between the U.S. and the 28 member states of the European Union (EU). The Cato Institute is a libertarian oriented think tank located in Washington, D.C.
Dredging in U.S. waters is regulated by the Foreign Dredge Act of 1906, which is one of several U.S. maritime cabotage laws, and restricts dredging in U.S. waters to U.S.-built, flag, owned and crewed dredges. It is often said that dredging in the U.S. is protected by the Jones Act, which is not technically correct, but reflects the common practice of referring to all U.S. maritime cabotage as the Jones Act.
As the author explains, the more efficient European Flag dredges could save U.S. ports over $1 billion per year in dredging costs. In addition, there is a substantial demand for dredging for beach reclamation, which cannot be met by the existing US dredging fleet.
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A Ports Policy Barnacled With Bad Law
Trade negotiations offer a chance to modernize U.S. ports by opening them to the foreign dredgers they need.
By DANIEL J. IKENSON, WSJ, Aug 4, 2015
The United States is currently engaged in a number of far-reaching trade talks. However these agreements end up, Americans at least can rest assured that their economic interests are well represented . . . at least by the foreign negotiators.
To be sure, the U.S. negotiators in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Trade in Services Agreement want to open overseas markets for American companies. That’s certainly a worthy objective for these businesses and their workers. But it is the foreign negotiators—seeking to reduce U.S. trade barriers to their own exporters’ goods—who would deliver the most benefits for Americans. These include lower intermediate-goods costs for U.S. companies, lower prices of final goods for U.S. consumers, and more competition-inspired innovation.
For example: European Union trade negotiators in the trans-Atlantic talks want to open the U.S. market to European “dredgers,” companies that provide maritime excavation and engineering services. It’s an industry most of us don’t think about, yet it’s surprisingly important. Many American ports desperately need to be modernized if the U.S. is to compete successfully in the global economy. But arcane laws protecting domestic dredgers from competition are holding the country back....
read ... Barnacled With Bad Law