The Clinton Administration "supports the Jones Act as an essential element of our Nation's maritime policy, and will not be proposing changes to the Act," said a senior U.S. trade official during a mid-summer meeting of the World trade Organization
(WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland.
Ambassador Susan Esserman
, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, offered the strong endorsement of U.S. cabotage laws as international negotiators prepare for the next round of WTO negotiations on trade in services, which will begin in Seattle, in November.
Like the previous round of WTO negotiations, the upcoming negotiations will address maritime services. However, the negotiating guidelines for the previous round specifically excluded cabotage, a position supported by the U.S. "due to the essential link the Jones Act provides in our national transportation network and readiness capability," said Esserman.
She added the U.S. Dept. of Defense has repeatedly emphasized the importance of the Jones Act to U.S. national security, noting, "The Jones Act assures U.S. control of essential transportation assets [including vessels, shipyards and parts and equipment suppliers] and related infrastructure in both peacetime and wartime."